YOB The Great Cessation
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01. Burning the Altar
02. The Lie That Is Sin
03. Silence of Heaven
04. Breathing from the Shallows
05. The Great Cessation
Reviewed by: Nick
// Published: 8/10/2009
After nearly three years of being on hiatus, YOB has returned with their follow-up to 2005's near-masterpiece, The Unreal Never Lived. Expectations were sky-high for the Oregon band's comeback release, as their knack for writing incredibly heavy, psychedelic jams is almost unmatched in the stoner/doom community. So what's the verdict Is this as stellar as we all had hoped
Absolutely. In fact, The Great Cessation is hands down the doom album of the year. Argument's could be made for Moss' latest, as well as the sludge/doom hybrid presented by newcomers Lord Mantis, but neither has nailed down the art of the flowing, trance-like riff as successfully as YOB.
Comparison-wise, this record represents the band transitioning into a slightly slower, spacier corner of their brand of doom. The Unreal Never Lived seemed to be split between the more driving song structures of "Quantum Mystic" and "Kosmos" -- honestly, is it even possible for a riff to achieve a higher level of fist-pumping-ness than that of the opening of "Quantum Mystic" -- and the more down-tempo offerings of "Grasping Air" and "The Mental Tyrant." With The Great Cessation, the balance is shifted further toward the latter side, and the five tracks posses an entirely impressive handle on organically developing songwriting.
"Burning the Altar" opens with waves of psychedelic fretwork over a slow bass groove before launching into the album's first massive riff -- that which is gradually tweaked over the course of the track to maintain its unified direction, but still remain musically interesting. "Silence of Heaven" proves to be a beast of a track on account of its dark mood achieved via overflowing low-end tones and accompanying thick growls. "Breathing from the Shallows" is the record's shortest and most driving track, providing a fitting backdrop for the soaring soloing that comes in shortly after the two minute mark. And then there's the 20 minute closing title track, an expansive and surprisingly melodic mini-opus.
The difference in atmospheres and overall moods between The Unreal Never Lived and The Great Cessation make it a tough call to crown either as superior. But in terms of outside competition, YOB's latest is a no-brainer for the upper echelon of the genre. Anyone with the slightest interest in the sludge, stoner, and doom genres needs to have this.
Bottom Line: YOB has made a hell of a comeback with The Great Cessation, a record that takes their signature sound and makes it a touch slower and sparser than The Unreal Never Lived. It's dark, heavy, well-written, and one of the year's best.
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