Yob

support Wiegedood
author AP date 17/10/18 venue Lille VEGA, Copenhagen, DEN

A serious health scare for Yob frontman Mike Scheidt in 2017 has kept the Eugene, OR-based doom/stoner metal trio’s touring plans at bay for some time, and as a result, Danish fans have had to wait for more than two years for the band to return here after their triumphant concerts at Loppen in 2014 and again at Pumpehuset in 2016. It is thus no surprise to find VEGA bustling with people tonight, all eager to assess how suited Yob’s latest offering, “Our Raw Heart”, is to the live setting. Supporting them this evening is a group this webzine has grown quite fond of after watching them command Roadburn Festival’s largest venue like a natural authority earlier this year: the Gent, Belgium-born atmospheric black metal trio Wiegedood.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Wiegedood

The band wastes no time, rolling out a slick tremolo melody to launch “Svanesang”, the opening track to their début album, 2015’s “De Doden Hebben Het Goed”. It is a punishing, pitch-black piece of music which makes a mockery of the fact that Wiegedood has no bassist, the interplay between guitarists Levy Seynaeve and Gilles Demolder, and drummer Wim Sreppoc providing depth and weight to your heart’s content. And to be honest, the Flemish outfit is not focused on sonic destruction anyway; their appeal stems from their adding a variety of unusual touches like a suave alternative rock intro to “Ontzieling” and some mantric throat singing by Seynaeve in the closing track “Prowl” to their music. Compared to most other atmospheric black metal artists, Wiegedood also distinguish themselves by the speed of their fretwork. The songs rarely settle into those long drones that are so characteristic of the genre, resulting in melodies that are perhaps not transcendental, but instead produce a diabolical tone by virtue of their jagged and dissonant style. This is an interesting innovation on a genre that has grown saturated over the past few years and ensures, like at Roadburn in April, that Wiegedood manage to stand out from that mass.

It does seem like most of the people attending tonight have little to no familiarity with the band, however, so the proceedings never attain the magical, reciprocal atmosphere we felt at the 013 venue that night. But armed with a deafening volume, murky red lighting and 40 minutes’ worth of high quality black metal, Wiegedood surely manage to raise some eyebrows nonetheless and likely inspire people to give their music a proper spin at home later. Perhaps if the Belgian trio was a bit keener to remove the disconnect between themselves and the audience and really impose themselves on us instead of just standing back and gauging the temperature of the room, the story of their sophomore gig in Denmark might have been one for the ages. Still, the three musicians make a convincing case for themselves here and hopefully this will not be the last time that we are treated to darkly beautiful maelstroms like “Cataract” at a Danish concert venue.

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Yob

Many people have a preconceived idea that doom bands don’t make for very interesting live acts, but Yob beg to differ. The Oregonian trio’s music may be slow as the genre dictates, but on stage they are anything but languid, as the onset of “Ablaze” (the opening track to the aforementioned “Our Raw Heart”) quickly reveals. Scheidt, in particular, is a fiery character, heaving his long hair into arcs of blur, and gladly rocking out like a slow-motion thrasher whenever his growls and yells are not required. And Aaron Rieseberg, the group’s bassist since 2009, seems to concentrate his entire strength into each note, striking his instrument as though his life depended on it as the trio wallows in the chugging devastation that is “The Screen” (also taken from “Our Raw Heart”). Just as on record, the monotony of that song admittedly fails to capture my imagination, but it is a minor hiccup in what is otherwise a tour-de-force from one of doom metal’s brightest stars. Certainly, the likes of “Ball of Molten Lead”, which resides on 2004’s celebrated “The Illusion of Motion”, exhibit a band far ahead of the curve when it comes to encapsulating what doom metal, as a genre, is and can be. The music is, at once, crushing in terms of its emotional and sonic weight, progressive in its ambition and reach, and cinematic in its composition, and the response of the audience is one of utter respect.

There is never truly a silent moment during Yob’s performance tonight, with the songs bleeding into and out of one another through sections of feedback and ambiance, and indeed, when these transitions take on a quieter character, the audience refrains from the usual chattering so that the impact of the scarce melodic notes can truly be felt. This is especially so during the proggy, Opeth-esque instrumental segment in “The Lie That Is Sin” (off 2009’s “The Great Cessation”) and the soaring, uplifting finale to “Our Raw Heart”’s title track, which sees Scheidt literally spinning in ecstasy in a testimony to how personal this album and song are for him. The set concludes in the oriental and tribal touches of “Adrift in the Ocean” (taken from 2011’s “Atma”) as only the sixth track — and herein lies the only other point of criticism that I can muster about this majestic performance: namely that Yob have opted not to include anything from their 2014 masterpiece, “Clearing the Path to Ascend” on the setlist. Given the praise that record met, I would have thought it to be a staple of Yob’s live shows now, and, expecting to be overcome by at least one of those songs tonight, I have to be honest and opine that the concert ends somewhat short of its true potential. Still, I hope it will not be another two years before this magisterial band comes to town to woo us with their entrancing, transcendental take on doom metal again.

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Setlist:

  • 01. Ablaze
  • 02. The Screen
  • 03. Ball of Molten Lead
  • 04. The Lie That Is Sin
  • 05. Our Raw Heart
  • 06. Adrift in the Ocean

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