Early last year Yob’s Mike Scheidt was hospitalised for a lengthy period, following an attack of diverticulitis – a condition that affects the large intestine. Mike was left fighting for his life and the future of Yob suddenly became incredibly uncertain. Thankfully, the inimitable frontman made a full recovery and the trio returned to the studio to record their eighth album ‘Our Raw Heart’. With a renewed appreciation for life after having nearly lost his, Mike and his bandmates breathed a new energy into the band and their latest record is inspired by Scheidt’s brush with death.

This opus takes all the aggression that lies within 2011’s ‘Atma’ and marries it together with the more psychedelic aspects of 2014’s ‘Clearing the Path to Ascend’, creating a record that is gut wrenchingly powerful, yet still accessible to even the most casual of metal listeners. You would expect Mike to feel resentment at what happened to him, and the anger from this to carry over into the music within ‘Our Raw Heart’, however, this could not be further from the case. Every song on the album feels inspiring and uplifting – it’s not so much a middle finger in the face of death as it is a celebration of life. Despite the riffs being devastatingly heavy, the atmosphere throughout is light and joyous, and its delivery wrought with emotion.

2014’s ‘Marrow’ (from ‘Clearing the Path to Ascend’) pulled at the heart strings in a way that hasn’t been heard since Warning’s ‘Watching from a Distance’ and it seemed unlikely that Yob would ever be able to top this. However, ‘Beauty in Falling Leaves’ is a definite tear jerker in an entirely different way. While ‘Marrow’ weighed heavy on the mind with sadness, ‘Beauty in Falling Leaves’ is a poignant display of how to appreciate the little things in life before it’s too late, with the acerbic line “your heart brings me home” repeated throughout. Standing strong and triumphing in the face of adversity, ‘Our Raw Heart’ is not just a commemoration of life but a commemoration of Yob and how much more they have to give. Long may they continue.

(9.5/10 Angela Davey)