“Our Raw Heart”

By Dr. Abner Mality

It’s no secret that Mike Scheidt has been through hell and back in the last year. He had a life threatening situation with a massive intestinal infection that almost killed him not once but twice. It was so bad that he thought death was a certainty. But he has clawed his way back not only to health but a new epic album from his transcendental doom project YOB.

This review causes me pain because as much as I want to say this is YOB’s greatest album, the reality for me is quite the opposite. In the past I’ve been entranced by the huge, monumental sludge explorations on albums like “Atma” and “Clearing the Soul To Ascend”. On “Our Raw Heart”, I don’t feel the same hypnotic pull. The songs seem simple almost to the point of being chlld-like and extremely repetitive. I mean, I haven’t  heard a more basic or fumbling cut than “The Screen” anywhere else this year. It is probably meant to be mind-expanding, but instead is mind-numbing. Riffs just kind of plod on into infinity on mega-long tunes like “In Reverie” and “Beauty In Falling Leaves”. There’s no doubt that Mike is putting a lot of emotion into these songs, which mainly come across in his heart felt voice. But the songs themselves just plod. There’s no other way to say it.

“Original Face” tries to up the ante with more aggression and death vocals but doesn’t quite get there. The record finally breaks through on the ending title track, which is also very long, but has a kind of uplifting tone and steady melody that keeps it from being boring. I wish there had been more like it.

Mike Scheidt is an inspiration to music fans everywhere and is capable of great work. Sadly, “Our Raw Heart” is not that work.