If you have ever seen Mike Scheidt of the transcendent band Yob play his stunning looking electric guitar, then, besides noticing his unique guitar playing style, you probably have noticed his hand tattoos, which he has acquired not so long time ago. A simple yet powerful message saying "stay" on one hand and "awake" on the other with a small twist to it - the words are oriented in a way, that they face him the right side up, and other people see it upside down. This was probably done with a purpose of the tattoo being readable at a glance only to the bearer, which may mean, that it is deeply personal to Mike. The exact same sentence decorate his acoustic solo album, which as you might have gathered is not only worth a listen, but is also a definite must buy release.
Apart from being one of the most influential people in the doom scene nowadays, Scheidt, in my opinion, is also one of the best living metal vocalists, guitarists and front-men of all time, and to say, that his music hasn't influenced mine, would be a distortion of reality I live in. As well as Scott Kelly's and Steve Von Till's acoustic solo works, this album is dark, mesmerizing and heavy. And heavy in a way that was described by one guy in the documentary "Such hawks, such hounds". He essentially said, that heavy doesn't necessarily have to be visceral, evil and loud, heavy can be achieved by giving a guy, who has experienced some shit and dug deep enough inside of him in the process, a guitar and letting him play about his hardships. What sets this record apart from other records in the genre is that Mike adds his signature layer of divine abstractions, weird riffage and ethereal reverb of both guitar and voice. I would say, that this album does a good job at putting a man into a much bigger cosmic perspective and exploring the universe as the artist sees and understands it. Of course, when it comes to solo albums, they tend to suffer from the what the fuck song syndrome, and unfortunately this album has the same ailment as well. The fun part is that this major fuck up was actually written in a major scale, the not so fun part is, that it was so horrible, that I wanted to pour sulfuric acid down my ear canal not to hear this abomination ever again. I'm talking about the song "In Your Light". The track is taken absolutely out of context both tonality and feel wise from the rest of the album, and reminded me of songs along the lines of "baby Jesus, the sweet Mexican" and "Home, sweet Alabama". If you haven't heard the album yet, then spare yourself the agony and just keep skipping the track #3 till the rest of your life, if it is on the CD, or delete it altogether even before listening to it, if it is a digital copy - some things are better left unheard. But hey, he is an artist and maybe that is, what he felt like doing in that moment. Who am I to judge, I'm just expressing my opinion - it may seem mean, but at the end of the day, at least it is honest. Given how many outstanding songs this man has written during his career, we, the metal fans around the world, are all ought to forgive him this slight misstep.
So buy the album, support the man, and, if you have the chance, go and see him play live with either his main band Yob or any other of his side projects.