The last years easily belong to the Stoner genre. More and more bands release successful albums, new bands come to the surface and people listen increasingly this genre nowadays. So, the new addition for 2011 is “Atma” from YOB. “Atma” is the band’s second release after their reformation, following the amazing “The Great Cessation” and generally the album uses the same form. It’s the same Stoner music with all the psychedelic elements and if you add the Doom Metal music with the heavy riffing and the massive drums, we all know the result. “Atma” can easily be one of the notable Stoner albums of the year.

The band members must have taken seriously their reunion, because “Atma” is an equally good album as “The Great Cessation”. The first song “Prepare the Ground” has the usual hulking bass, which dominates the album, many “unreal” fusion elements in the guitar (they sometimes reminded me a bit of Mastodon’s music), and very flexible drums that are added to the very good compositions of the song. Also Scheidt’s vocals give to the song’s atmosphere some extraterrestrial elements. “Prepare the Ground” predisposes the listener for what is coming. One of the best songs in this album, is the title song, in my opinion. “Atma” has very chaotic riffing plus sludgy vocals. If “Atma” comes from the Sanskrit word “Atman” in Hindu philosophy, then it means the one’s true self beyond identification with phenomena. To attain salvation, a human being must acquire self-knowledge to realise experientially that one’s true self is identical with the transcendent self .That is clear, nearly in the middle of the song, where the guitar’s melody shows a higher level of music spirituality and its effect to the listener’s mentality.

The music trip to liberation doesn’t stop here. “Before We Dreamed of Two” is next, and for the first time the unreal atmosphere is clear. Once again very solid riffing, carving bass, rhythmic drums and the vocals have a depth in a point you think you listen a Buddhist or a Hindu praying. A dark atmosphere emerges from this song that travels the listener to the most mystic points of his thoughts. The fact that it has a sixteen minute duration, doesn’t make this song boring because of the trippy breakdowns. Next song is “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore”. This song is much more close to the classical Stoner music in my opinion, with all the Doom heaviness too. But it also includes psychedelic points (the guitar melody for example). In conclusion “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore” is a very continent song, it’s like the expression: Slow Down Or Die.

The album closes with “Adrift in the Oceans”. For me it’s one of the most brilliant songs, that YOB ever composed and in all that epicness, add the participation of Scott Kelly from the great Neurosis in the vocals and it gets even better. Without gabbling, the song starts with a very psychedelic guitar melody and very atmospheric ride cymbals and continues the mind trip until the end of the song with solid riffs flowing and tripping melodies plus smashing drums and breakdowns with massive guitar scarping by Aaron Reiseberg. The fact is that “Atma” leaves a very satisfactory result after its listening. YOB seem to have reformed for staying, because it’s their second very good and combatant album within two years. The album has all that a Stoner fan can ask: mind-blowing music, sick vocals and spiritual atmosphere. The truth is that, “Atma” will keep me interested for some time.

Track List Line Up
01. Prepare the Ground
02. Atma
03. Before We Dreamed of Two
04. Upon the Sight of the Other Shore
05. Adrift in the Oceans
Mike Scheidt – Vocals, Guitars
Aaron Reiseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

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