Clearing the Path to Ascend
The way of YOB is not a simple means to an end, and despite what you think, it’s not about the music. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true because like their other releases, Clearing the Path to Ascend is the thought of meditation. It’s drone and heart rate slowed down to a hypnotic state of mind. It’s the world stopping on its axis and moving in slow motion. It’s dealing with the demons and pounding out the steel to create life out of muscle.
Certainly my favorite band to come from the Neurot roster, and Clearing the Path to Ascend may be their Led Zeppelin IV. Only four songs on this album, they go to the ends of the world and back with each song, sparring no wasted space.
“Unmask the Sceptre” is a great starting point, although third on the album. You feel so many emotions throughout the song. The guitar chords seven minutes into the epic song, showcases the band diving into their inner souls and coming out with something beautiful, despite the catastrophic rhythms, creating earthquake-like ripples as the guitars transcend into a minimal yet powerful metal solo before diving off the cliff into the abyss. Dive through the mist and you enter the sanctuary. Welcome to the church of absolute metal. The cataclysmic power chords and dragging drums are frightening. Mike Scheidt’s vocals are the equivalent to when Moses came down from the mountain and found his followers worshipping the golden calf. I can picture Scheidt’s otherworldly scream to be the equivalent to Moses’ reaction. The sharpness in his tongue earlier reminds me of early Treponam Pal madness.
“In Our Blood” is an amazing opener, transcending different moods and textures. When that first inclination of deafening gutter chords rings out into infinity, it will send your body into a pseudo-seizure. It’s incredible just how much sound this three piece can conjure up and expel into our eardrums.
“Marrow” ends the album as a choral chant dissipating into our memory as the ringing of metal chords with Type O Negative speeds power on. After all is said and done, this album does not leave you easily, and it will be something that is very hard to forget.
If you want an iconic definition of doom, Clearing the Path to Ascend is it.