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***BACK IN STOCK!!! Received an 8.2 rating from Pitchfork. Two years after leveling the expectations of critics and listeners alike with Atma, doom powerhouse YOB unleashes Clearing the Path to Ascend, an aptly titled album for what will undoubtedly be the trio’s crowning achievement. As is the YOB way, the tracks here don’t simply offer a vacuous glimpse into the already riff-soaked doom genre—they demand the tandem attention of mind, body, and soul. True ascension requires a destruction of the barriers that prevent movement onward. Unsurprisingly, YOB pummels any and all obstacles with absolute authority, clearing the way for a genuinely visceral listening experience, the culmination of a musical journey approching two decades in length. YOB’s music is not unlike the path that’s led them to their current place among heavy metal’s elite: slowly building from a hushed ethereal vapor into the thunderous and masterful tumult of sonic domination. The ethereal mists of Eugene, Oregon, no doubt provided the perfect catalyst for founding member and vocalist Mike Scheidt to call up the signature of surging doom that has earned YOB its current position as one of the most respected and revered bands in all of heavy metal. While giving due credit to cornerstone influences such as Cathedral, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, YOB defines a sound wholly singular and utterly devastating in its cathartic enormity. The echoes of progressive rock and drone that have underscored YOB’s music on past releases are fully realized on Clearing the Path to Ascend, as each track forges into the next with a ferocity that’s as unhinged as it is utterly focused. Drummer Travis Foster wields rhythmic furor with bombastic precision while bassist Aaron Rieseberg coils around the sonic tide with an unforgiving churn—all in a deadly synchronicity with Scheidt’s uncanny vocal range and its pendulous movement between the triumphant howls of a medieval madman and the earth-splitting growls of a war-battered titan. Clearing the Path to Ascend is a work as ethereally compelling in its aesthetic as it is merciless in the magnitude of its sound.