Review: Yob at Larimer Lounge, 1/22/12

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Mike Scheidt of Yob was replacing a string on his guitar that had just snapped and he told us, "Two more songs and we'll end it brutal." True to his word on behalf of the band, Scheidt and company escalated quickly into the rampaging cyclone of burning sludge that rims the group's songs and closed with the unrelenting fury of the aptly titled "Ball of Molten Lead."

The trio started its set by diving headlong into "Prepare the Ground," from its excellent 2011 album, Atma. Scheidt's vocals easily shifted from low, growly to a high pitched, swirly yowl that sounded like it could have been a nice middle ground between Ozzy and Dio. And that voice cut through the bassy sound of the rest of the instrumentation.

Before playing "Kosmos," Scheidt joked with us that the song was for the Tool fans in the audience. But the volcanic blasts of eruptive distortion eliminated any chance of anyone making last minute responses. "Adrift in the Ocean" started out as it does on the record with the springy-swirly guitar and the pulse of bass running through it with a ride cymbal shimmers created by mallets. But, as with many of the band's more dreamy or abstract sections of music, the direct drive of the instrumentation kicks in. Except in this case, it was in sweeping washes of sound instead of the sledgehammer crush-rush that characterizes some of the band's song dynamics.

Yob only played a handful of songs, but those songs stretched out to over an hour and a half, and these guys made it feel like half that time or less. The way each of the members almost literally threw themselves into the music and the way in which Scheidt would play the most complicated riffs with such fluidity and grace kept the set flowing. This even as the trio committed sonic mayhem with each song. And yet it wasn't just doomy, crunchy riffs. Yob ran through a variety of moods and atmospheres throughout to break up the sameness of every song.

Even though Scheidt was clearly humble as he thanked the crowd with a friendly solemnity, Yob's songs, each one, felt like a sometimes harrowing, always exciting and transporting, journey because the sheer volume of noise you could feel hitting your body and each note or chord could be heard with a surprising clarity.

Opening the show earlier than one assumes when the door time says nine o'clock was Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire. That band's sound is grounded in brutal, technical death metal and grindcore. But the trio takes that foundation and makes a sound that really articulates the essence of the collective anomy of the modern.

Almost as much as it is music, what Clinging does is an unrelenting clatter, a constant explosion guided along with crackling shards of sound flaking off but kept in forward momentum by the rhythm. When the band finally stops, it is abrupt and you feel like the guys just dismounted from the music, like it was some kind of barely controllable vehicle.

Jess Ellis and Austin Williams of Low Gravity played complementary riffs that conjured the image of two great, interlocking wheels getting into motion, driven by the irresistible rhythms of Adam Mullins and Devin Ferguson. Once the music machine got going, it was straight into a doomy high gear. Fortunately, it wasn't the typical evolution of the stoner rock of the last decade, despite the fact that Ellis was in one of Denver's best practitioners of that sound, the Nod.

There was something more directed and energetic about what Low Gravity was doing. Instead of finding one groove and playing it into the ground, Low Gravity switched up its dynamics and used sounds that weren't completely fuzzed out, like the echoing lead in the third song. Is it possible that Low Gravity finished with a cover of "Prepare the Ground" by Yob just before Yob played the same song? It sure sounded like it.


Personal Bias: Saw Yob last summer with Dark Castle and loved the band then.

Random Detail: Ran into Tyler and Tom of Stillborn Fawn at the show.

By the Way: The Yob's merch was reasonably priced.

Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

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