Not long ago we gave you an abridged version of the story behind Iraq's best-known metal group. The Eugene, Oregon band they play with Thursday night at the Roxy has a sordid tale of its own, albeit comparatively far less tragic and harrowing. YOB established themselves as one of the most influential American doom acts of this century with their slow, cosmic brand of heavy. Their three song, nearly 50 minute second full-length, Catharsis, was one of my first purchases when I finally jumped on board the vinyl revival. But after two more albums, touring fatigue took its toll on the rhythm section, and the trio disbanded in early 2006 leaving vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt no choice but to carry on solo. That he did, and soon after he made the fateful decision to start a new project under the name MIDDIAN. That party was almost immediately crashed when a defunct Wisconsin group named MIDIAN (one less "D") thought they could make a few bucks by holding up an underground metal band. If they were any good, they would have known that a record deal with Metal Blade still doesn't mean there is money to go around. And if there was any doubt, as a result of the lawsuit Metal Blade promptly dropped MIDDIAN from its roster soon after its only record was released. Fast forward through less than a year of pointless litigation to the summer of 2008 when Scheidt and company decided to throw in the towel and bassist Wil Lindsay moved on to the blacker pastures of WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM and, more recently, NACTHMYSTIUM and INDIAN. But just like the boys in ACRASSICAUDA, a bad situation took a turn for the better when YOB drummer Travis Foster reached out to Scheidt and they agreed to reform along with new bassist Aaron Reiseberg. Last year brought YOB's triumphant return in the form of The Great Cessation, brought to us by Profound Lore, a label that has seemingly done everything right in recent times. The release garnered a lot of attention, causing even the New York Times to chime in: "The trick of this music is that the composed details, the subtle craft and narrative texture of it, come at you not through quietude but enveloping, mind-stun volume."
Thursday night you can catch YOB and ACRASSICAUDA for free, courtesy of Scion. Both bands should be amped up with something to prove. This very likely is the Iraqis' first visit to the west coast. Shit, they escaped a war-torn nation to play for you so be sure to get there early. And it will definitely be YOB's first show here since they were reborn. With their limited touring schedule, I wouldn't count on more. All you need to do to be a witness is to RSVP and show up at the venue before it fills. It's almost too easy. And don't whine to us about the Lakers game. That's what the TVs at the Rainbow are for.