No other band in the metal genre today so perfectly captures the concept of “the immovable object meets the unstoppable force” as Eugene’s Yob. In both riffage and lyrical themes, Yob is among the heaviest of doom bands, and their history proves that while they have met with adversity, they can’t be knocked down.
Guitarist and vocalist Mike Scheidt founded Yob in 1996. The band released four albums, including two on Metal Blade Records, before disbanding in 2006 due to lineup changes. Scheidt’s next project, Middian, released one album (Age Eternal) on Metal Blade before the label dropped them due to a lawsuit by a similarly named band. In the wake of that tumult, Yob reformed with bassist Aaron Reiseberg and drummer Travis Foster, signed with Profound Lore and played their first Eugene show in nearly five years last May. Yob’s new album, The Great Cessation, claimed spots on numerous best-of-2009 lists, including number 13 on Christopher R. Weingarten’s top 100 list on The Village Voice’s Sound of the City blog. Decibel magazine called Yob “the heaviest, most monolithic thing since forever.”
The themes of The Great Cessation aren’t overtly about Middian’s mentally and financially draining legal battle, but Scheidt has proposed that the album is “meant to be a healing balm for myself and anyone else who resonates with the lyrics.” Scheidt has always explored cosmic mysteries in his lyrics, with accompanying sludgy, downtuned music that descends and rises at a glacier’s pace, rumbling like cooling lava. “My lyrics have gotten more concerned with being on the path of awakening in an earthly way as much as a universal and celestial way,” says Scheidt. “I don’t examine my process too much. I write what is the closest to my heart, what makes me soar and what hurts. But I do think that even in the darkest moments of our new album the lyrics are also hopeful and not meant as polarized judgment.”
Yob isn’t touring, though they do regularly receive offers to play one-off shows throughout the world. At the high-profile Scion Rock Fest in March in Columbus, Ohio, Yob is sharing top slot billings with Cannibal Corpse, Shrinebuilder and Voivod (“An incredibly surreal mind trip for us,” says Scheidt). At the annual Roadburn Festival in Holland in April, Yob will be the first band in the fest’s history to play two separate sets of music.
Yob plans to record a new album by year’s end, but “as grandiose as it all sounds,” Scheidt says, “we don’t make enough money from this to make a real support-our-families living and we don’t want to potentially damage our art and soul as individuals and as a band to really try and ‘make it.’” The recent critical praise Yob has received will likely increase opportunities for the band, but “until then,” says Scheidt, “and even if things get bigger, it’s all about fun and love.”
Yob, Rye Wolves. 8:30 pm Saturday, Feb. 13 | WOW Hall • $7 adv., $8 door.