Yob’s new Our Raw Heart uses the darkness of doom metal to show us what to cherish | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Yob’s new Our Raw Heart uses the darkness of doom metal to show us what to cherish

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The doom metal I enjoy generally does a fine job whipping up feelings of dread, revulsion, despair, and outrage—and like a good horror movie, it allows you to splash around in darkness without suffering the associated trauma. As cathartic as that can be, though, it misses a huge opportunity by rolling credits before anyone has had a chance to return to daily life. Oregon trio Yob are distinctively wonderful because they keep going all the way to that ordinary light at the end of the tunnel—their recent eighth album, Our Raw Heart (Relapse), evokes the renewed vision that settles onto survivors of near-death experiences, when every leaf on every tree seems freshly miraculous and radiant. In this case the near-death experience is literal: Yob guitarist and front man Mike Scheidt, 47, was diagnosed with acute diverticulitis in late 2016 and underwent a nine-hour emergency surgery early last year after his sigmoid colon ruptured and flooded his abdomen with pus. As he told Rolling Stone this spring, when he began writing Our Raw Heart, “There was no guarantee that I was going to live long enough to record the album.” These songs immerse themselves in the body’s painful betrayals, the cruelties humans visit upon one another, the downward tug of the lifeless hand of depression—and in response they reach for a divine love beyond time and physical form. “No matter how lost / You find yourself / The sun rises still,” Scheidt sings on “In Reverie,” buffeted by swinging, concussive thunder. “Whatever you believe / In these red times / There is more / Than errors of sight.” Even the album’s structures mirror this seeking, often meditatively circling a riff or a pitch center and then leaping into a vast, kaleidoscopic chorus. Scheidt says his surgeons played Yob’s music as an “anchor” for him while he was clinging to life on the operating table, and for those of us clinging to our own lives, the band can work the same way. “I’m wearing less black,” Scheidt told the New Yorker last summer. “I’m attracted to color.”  v

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