Old Man Gloom, NO

I've got to admit I've not always been the biggest fan of Old Man Gloom. They're admittedly not everyone's cup of tea. Sometimes, they manage to put out something that really speaks to me, that really sounds inspired and fresh (Seminar III), and sometimes, I have just been utterly crushed by disappointment (Seminar II). So I kind of gave up on them, or at least gave up on having expectation for them. I figured that if a new record came out, I'd get around to listening to it eventually, but that it wouldn't be a priority.

Out comes NO, the newest slab of gloomy (go figure), doomy sludgy metal from this Massachusetts by way of New Mexico band featuring members of Cave-In, Isis, Converge, and others. Their first album since 2004, I was surprised to even hear that they were putting out a record. But low and behold, NO is a gem.

There's very little that anyone would call traditional on it at all: song structures are existent one minute, gone the next, melodies come and go like the wind, bursts of feedback and noisy electronics fade in and out rather randomly, but somehow, it works. The album features the best riffs that Old Man Gloom have ever recorded, while everything else, including some excellent keys and drums, works as a glue to hold the album together as a rather intricate but cohesive whole. It is an album that must be listened to as such - you really aren't gonna get this record if you skip around or listen to a song here and another one there. The album really demands your attention and your time. It hooked me right away, but I realize this won't be the case for everyone.

It is at the same time Old Man Gloom's most experimental album to date, as well as their most straight-forward. It is also far and away their heaviest record, and by far their best. You'll be missing out if you don't at least give it a chance.

For more information, and to stream and/or download the albumin it's entirety, check out their Bandcamp. The Double vinyl version has sold out from the source, but you may be able to find it in a distro or two. Meanwhile, you can buy a nice cassette version, a CD, or some nice t-shirts and hoodies from Hydra Head.

1 comment:

Llanero Solitario said...

I agree with everything you said. In fact, I would have written something really similar. III was a great surprisa but II was just so mediocre.

This album is great and they don't use anymore that annoying ambient/dooom/ambient/dooom/ambient/doom structures they abused in all their albums. Pretty solid from beggining to end.

-Gravetemplar.