Wednesday, January 11, 2012

#3: Yob - Atma

When talking about the Batillus album I referred to it as "doom at its best". That's different than "the best doom". That honour goes to Atma (Profound Lore). Guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Reiseberg and drummer Travis Foster have summoned forth a monumental slab of thunderous doom mastery. Thick as molasses riffs unfold at a glacial pace, as unstoppable as that very force of nature. The hypnotic nature of the riffs coupled with the fuzzed out, overdriven tone can lull you into a state of bliss that allows the music to permeate every fiber of your being. It is a transcendental and meditative experience. As doomy as it is, Atma doesn't bring me down. I feel uplifted by its positive energy. Although, the guest vocals by Scott Kelly of Neurosis on "Before We Dreamed of Two" are somewhat sombre. Kelly also appears on "Adrift in the Ocean". Also, Stevie Floyd of Dark Castle provided the stunning artwork. "Adrift in the Ocean" is actually a decent metaphor for another way I feel about the album. The fluidity of the album and the way the riffs rise and fall gives one the sense of riding waves. Also, sometimes the tension that is felt reminds me of the perils that lurk in the vastness of the open ocean. Above and below the water. Storm or serpent. That may not sound very uplifting, but I still feel good listening to Atma. In terms of the word "atma" itself, it is defined as "the self". Self in the vastest sense of the word. This gives me a somewhat personal connection to the album. As a practitioner of an Eastern philosophy (NKT Buddhism), the self or "I" is at the heart of the practice. We are taught that the "I" is not this body, is not a physical thing. It is a formless mental continuum that carries our karmic potentialities from consciousness to consciousness as long as we are trapped in the cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth called samsara. Heavy stuff. Heavy stuff calls for heavy music and you won't find many bands as heavy, or as good, as Yob.

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