YOB’s Away

Doom metal culture embraces Eugene trio

For eight years, Mike Scheidt, founding member of Eugene-based doom metal trio YOB, has quietly amassed a worldwide following thanks to the avid tape trading, e-mail lists and fanzines of the global underground doom metal culture.

Now they’re making the jump to the big time. Guitarist and vocalist Scheidt, along with bassist Isamu Sato and drummer Travis Foster have inked a deal with Metal Blade records to release The Illusion of Motion, the band’s fourth recording, on Oct. 19.

For the uninitiated, doom metal takes cues from heavy-riffing ’70s rock like Black Sabbath and melds it with sludgy modern counterparts such as The Melvins. Lyrical themes trend toward the apocalyptic touching on war, death and religion. As YOB’s popularity grows, metal magazines are hailing the trio as the new “Kings of Doom.” The deal with Metal Blade, the label that brought metal to the world stage with early recordings by Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Slayer, Voivod, Trouble and Corrosion Of Conformity, will likely cement YOB into the upper echelons of doom metal forever.

In a recent phone conversation, Scheidt confided that it’s “mind-boggling” to him that musicians he’s always admired now listen to and like his music and said comparisons to heroic doom bands such as Cathedral are awesome. Lee Dorian, Cathedral’s vocalist, loves YOB and even tried to sign them to his own label, Rise Above.

But Scheidt was still looking for a new label. “I knew we were going to be leaving our last label which put out Catharsis [YOB’s last album] so over the years I made contacts with various labels I thought we’d like to work with. We finished the record and paid for it on our own. I started sending out copies of it and put a post on our website,” explains Scheidt.

Metal Blade was among the first labels to respond. “Brian Slagel, the owner, has our other records and loves Catharsis especially. We were still talking to a half dozen other labels and turned them [Metal Blade] down at one point, but they reeled us back in.”

The Illusion of Motion is a record of extremes, and “not Catharsis II,” said Scheidt. “It’s very much a YOB record but it’s different, and to our minds, it’s certainly an improvement over our last one which did really well for us. It’s better recorded. We spent a lot more money on it so it sounds a lot better. We had all sorts of new toys that were never available to us before and we were able to really produce a record. That professional sound quality is there where it comes out of your speakers and it’s just mountainous.”

The CD has their shortest track ever at six minutes and the longest at 26 minutes for a four-song total of 56 minutes. “All the extremes are even more extreme,” he says. “This will be our first record which is actually current to us,” says Scheidt, meaning that is was recorded and released in the same year. “All of our other records have been a year to two years delayed.”

It’s also the first recording with Foster (drums), who joined after Catharsis was already completed. YOB are not leaving Eugene though popularity beckons and they have committed to at least a month of touring every year in addition to numerous West Coast shows. “We love it here. It’s awesome to go out and tour and we have a lot of friends out there but it’s nice to come home, and Eugene is home,” says Scheidt.

A national tour awaits YOB next spring, along with extensive West Coast touring and Europe in the future. YOB will be performing Sept. 2 at Samurai Duck with Seattle’s Wormwood and Phoenix’s Graves At Sea.

In other local news, Eugene’s The Shudders are playing with Seattle’s Sledgeback and KOPS, a Eugene band consisting of former members of Pass Out Kings. KOPS is a cover band playing songs about, you guessed it, police officers.

The Shudders bring ’60s and ’70s garage rock and proto-punk to life, touched up with keyboards by Hot For Chocolate’s Jen Drake, forceful drumming by Raenie Kane (Asthma Hounds, Naysayers) bass playing by Tim Kinney guitar by Pete Weinberger and commanding vocalist Samantha Pritchard.

Sledgeback is fronted by Hungarian Gabi Hun. Five years ago Hun didn’t speak a word of English, which makes his gripping lyrics on songs such as “Gimme Back,” “Regret,” “No Feelings” and Sledgeanger” even more impressive. Sledgeback’s refined power pop is full of hooks and a unique perspective thanks to the singer’s life in Europe. The show will take place Sept. 2 at Luckey’s.

Don’t miss The Briefs, appearing Sept. 4 at John Henry’s. Taking inspirational cues from the Weirdos, Buzzcocks and Adolescents, The Briefs have recorded a brand new CD, Sex Objects, for BYO Records following a break with Interscope. Sex Objects is more of the same snotty, sing-along punk you’ve come to love from Seattle’s The Briefs.

Not a political band per se, band members have said in past interviews that it’s hard for musicians to not be political right now. But with “Destroy the USA,” “Orange Alert” and “No More Presidents” Sex Objects is more political than 2000’s Hit After Hit. Still, rhyming “terrorist alerts” with “stupid jerks” falls squarely on the irreverent side of the fence. Sex Objects is full of hooks designed for maximum pogo-ing and obnoxiousness, especially on songs like “Killed By Ants” and “Halfsize Girl.”

Buster B. Jones will perform slide guitar and blues at Luna on Sept. 4, two days after the University of Oregon Jazz Trio performs there on the 2nd.

Sam Bond’s starts out the month of September with reggae from Arjun and the Guardians on the 1st, a pop offering from Wisely on the 2nd and Cuban dance from Son Melao on the 3rd.