Pleasantly overwhelming as it takes you over, mind and body
YOB’s brand of doom is somewhat reminiscent of the titanic Sleep on this, their sixth album and second for Profound Lore, but frontman/mastermind Mike Scheidt is way more polarizing a vocalist than Matt Pike, his high-pitched, hoarse shriek seeming to vibrate not just the eardrums, but the ear bones. Meanwhile, the band’s downtuned riffing (courtesy of Scheidt and bassist Aaron Rieseberg) and Travis Foster’s implacable drumming go straight for the chest cavity. While some previous YOB releases have forsaken the rock in favor of endless rumbling drones, Atma kicks things off in a (relatively) furious manner with the stomping “Prepare the Ground,” before the title track and its obligatory rain and church bells bring the hammer down for real, Scheidt affecting a growl almost reminiscent of Accept’s Udo Dirkschneider. There are some long songs on Atma — “Before We Dreamed of Two” runs a full 16 minutes, which makes album closer “Adrift in the Ocean” seem almost economical at a mere 13:33 — but it never gets boring. Scheidt and his bandmates know how to build suspense while remaining skull-crushingly heavy at all times. Atma is pleasingly overwhelming; it takes you over, mind and body.