5 out of 5
Produced by: Sanford Parker
Bloody heck yes. When approaching a band with a long release history – such as Yob – after you’ve only heard, and enjoyed, a more recent offering, there’s some trepidation, at least for collector types like m’self: if those past efforts prove to be of a different, less desirable flavor, then I go into a process of having to justify which albums I like and why… The Great Cessation ain’t exactly Yob’s first release, but it is from nearly a decade earlier than the 2018 album I listened to just prior, and it rocks in a wholly specific, but identifiably Yob-ish fashion, so I’m sold. I’m sold on the epicness.
Recently, when reviewing another band’s release, I opined that just making long songs with loud riffs doesn’t instantly translate to metal goodness. 6 out of the 7 tracks on Great Cessation are 7+ minutes long; 2 of those top 10 minutes, and one – the title track – is twenty minutes long; these are a lesson in song construction: in making every go-round of a riff worthwhile in building toward a break or a bridge; in letting vocals repeat as part of a dirge; in mixing your guitar, bass, and drum elements for maximum listening effect.
To that last point, producer Sanford Parker (with co-production by Yob lead Mike Scheidt) knows this game and gives us killer production: Scheidt’s Black Sabbath whine is drowned in the shimmering guitar and heavy bass; the skins echo cavernously but act as support – appreciably not overwhelming the rest of the mix – with their sludge beat. Along with the engaging compositions, drawing you in over however many minutes, this presentation is key in making the disc continually listenable and rewarding.
The Great Cessation is a full-on experience: heft, precision, relative beauty in its slower build-ups, and intense performances from all its players.