About seven years back there was a brief period where it felt like metal might just break into the mainstream consciousness once again. Kanye had just finished with the rollout of Yeezus, a dense industrial hip-hop record that redefined what the genre could be to the common listener, and Deafheaven had received massive acclaim from the indie community for their sophomore effort Sunbather. Everyone was taking bits and pieces of metal, merch, sounds and more and turning it into something harsh for their fanbase, then all of the sudden it was gone as quick as it came.
I’ll always be left wondering why metal ended up unable to conquer the world, there’s the obvious answer, which I suppose is the correct one, that the music is simply too harsh for most people and will never be widely loved unless it compromises a large part of its intensity. But the positive of this period is that it did indeed turn some people from folks who were interested in metal into people who are now lovers of the genre.
One particular subgenre that has flourished as of late is Stoner Metal. The genre itself has been around for ages, splitting off from doom metal in the late 80s, and theoretically having roots as far back as “Black Sabbath” off of Black Sabbath. The genre relies intensely on a split between the crushing amplifiers of metal combined with the drawn out riffs of drone. The result is a sludgy, heavy, crunchy mixture of delightfully dark music. The stoner tag came later with groups like Sleep and Electric Wizard who took the psychedelic qualities of the music, and made them more obvious through lyrical references to pot.
YOB, of course, is one of the many stoner metal bands to benefit from the early 2010’s metal boom. Why this genre was so successful I can’t be entirely sure but the continued push for legalization, the boom in metal and the respect afforded to Sleep and Electric Wizard by metal publications and online forums made this an easy genre to step into as it’s not quite so harsh vocally.
The reduced emphasis on screams doesn’t mean that YOB doesn’t rip (bongs) though. Their music is some of the most singularly heavy stuff out there, completely shattering the boundaries between volume and inherent force of intensity. Given that their shows are anything like contemporaries Monolord or High on Fire, this is going to be one of the more intense experiences in LA this year.
Location: The Echo
Address: 1822 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat