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Live Review: Yob, Whitehorse, Inverloch

22 August 2015 | 5:40 pm | David Adams

"The movements of Yob are tectonic."

After their feverish attacks on metal music in the '80s, moral hand-wringers quickly found a new target in rap.

This month's smash hit film release Straight Outta Compton couldn't have been more perfectly timed: the themes of NWA's adversity and triumph in the face of moral panic and cultural rejection ring true amid rising racial tensions in the US. Locally, a backlash against the lyrics of Tyler, The Creator has caused the young rapper to cancel his announced national Australian tour. By contrast, Cannibal Corpse, whose records were once banned from sale in Australia for the same reasons, toured the nation without a hitch last year. So if metal is no longer the cause du jour of morality campaigners, what counterculture power does the genre have? If this show is anything to go by, the answer is catharsis.

Inverloch stay true to the tenets of doom and death metal, offering a solid set that swings between frigid atmospherics and pummelling blast beats. Frontman Ben James agonises over the microphone during the performance and is quick to offer a sincere thanks to the other acts on the bill. This duality is present throughout much of the show. Seemingly torturous performances are given, with gratitude, as opportunities for the audience to safely enact their own aggressions through horn-raising and head-banging.

Caustic electronics gurgle and fizz through the girth of each sludgy chord struck by Whitehorse. A smattering of effects is laid out like a pulpit over which their manipulator contorts and convulses like he's possessed. It's a metaphorically pleasing appropriation.

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Still, by comparison, the movements of Yob are tectonic. Discounting the presence of the band is impossible, as the bass is physically arresting. Guitar lines curl and chug over pounding drumming, which lends the three-piece dynamism and direction. Mike Schiedt's vocals warble, in a hallmark, Ozzy-esque way; Yob do play like some sort of wizened, gnarly and overgrown Black Sabbath, and the exploded fragments of blues and rock can be unearthed in their sound. Here, engulfed in the sound's gravity, the band's mysticism and theatricality become gospel and the band's power makes you an unironic believer in the power of metal. It's catharsis. Yob know that too: it's the name of their most celebrated record.