Sometimes it’s worth waiting a really long time for things that end up being really good. Right? What’s better than that? Torturing yourself with anticipation, hoping the thing that’s potentially in your future ends up being worth all the frustration. And really, when you’re talking about music, it isn’t life or death, but it still means a lot.
I’ve had a good bit of experiencing waiting things out. I use a lot of sports comparisons on this site, but whatever. I remember when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, the first NFL championship my hometown team captured in my adult life, and it was ridiculously incredible. After waiting all that time, it totally lived up to its awesomeness. Same also with the Pirates, who have their best record in 20 years. It’s sickeningly great, and I live in total fear the bottom’s about to drop out if it.
Maybe I didn’t fret like I did over the Steelers winning a Super Bowl, but I’ve been pretty excited to hear new stuff was coming from Old Man Gloom, the hardcore/metal/sludge/noise supergroup currently consisting of Aaron Turner (ISIS, Split Cranium, Mamiffer), Caleb Scofield (Cave In, Zozobra), Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders), and Santos Montano (also Zozobra). They last reached us in 2004 with “Christmas,” and then everyone went on to their other bands to make some pretty heavy, important albums that would go on to define various aspects of extreme music and make their main projects unstoppable forces. Yet, OMG seemed to be lingering in the back of people’s minds. Eight years later and here we are, the band is back doing live shows, and a new record finally surfaced called “No.” Would you expect a more mysterious, complex title from these guys?
Naturally, people now will compare the work done by ISIS, Converge, Cave In, and the other bands in which these guys play to the new OMG music to determine if it holds up, and the answer is it does in a huge way. But why compare? The music doesn’t batter you philosophically, though it certainly does musically, and it’s one of those crushers you can put on and let devastate you without you having to consider world events or what life means if you don’t want to. These guys always are thinking big though, and their album title is as much a reaction to all the bullshit that floods our lives than anything, but you never feel beaten about the head and torso with their reactions.
Turner’s monstrous wolf growls make up a large portion of the vocals, though the rest of the guys pitch in a great deal as well. Musically, it’s like the sum of all of their other parts, just in case you never heard an OMG record before. The guitars are crunchy and meaty, dreamy and atmospheric in other parts, and the pockets of noise and ambiance help you breathe and the songs set up shop in your mind. The quaking is unmistakable, and it makes for a really satisfying, explosive listen.
The record begins mysteriously on “Grand Inversion,” a noisy intro cut that spits noise and feedback and eventually a ringing noise that sounds like a hearing test. That leads into the mammoth “Common Species,” a track that aims to split open your chest cavity with its heaviness, doomy vibes, and experimental haziness. “Regain/Rejoin” is fairly compact and has a nice melody, and “To Carry the Flame” is a flat-out bruiser that’ll help you get your ass kicked at a live OMG show. “The Forking Path” sounds like the second half of “Flame,” as it rises right out of it, and it’s blistering and weird at the same time.
“Shadowed Hand” kicks off the second half of the album, one that’s awash in strange passages, ambiance, and fields of noise, as the cuts are less straight-forward and demand more of your patience. Trust me, you’ll be rewarded. “Hand” takes a great deal of time to develop, as it sounds like a multi-part piece where things change and shift, and no parts of the song resemble each other. “Rats” opens with an unsettling hum before melting down into sludgy riffs, siren-like emissions, and throaty, violent vocals; “Crescent” is the oddball, as it has a Western feel, clean singing, and a bit of reflection; and 14-minute closer “Shuddering Earth” opens nakedly, with Turner growling over no music, before the full band kicks in, leads you through hellfire and brimstone, calms their approach, and eventually drowns everything in noise and shrieks. It’s a really effective epic that puts a gigantic exclamation point at the end of “No.”
So the long wait certainly was worth every moment, and while many people’s lives have changed significantly since we last heard from these guys (including the band members’), it’s nice to know some things can be relied upon no matter what. OMG are steady and true, and I can’t help but continually say yes to “No.”
By the way, we have way more on Turner and another one of his projects come Monday. Please make sure to return for this exciting piece that’s been a while in the making (pretty much because of me).
For more on the band, go here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Man-Gloom/41173493966
To buy the album, go here: http://www.bluecollardistro.com/hydrahead/categories.php?cPath=4
For more on the label, go here: http://www.hydraheadlines.blogspot.com/