There are those out there who just live to fuck with people and get utter glee in seeing the reaction to their chicanery. As long as those teases aren’t vitriolic or harmful to others, what the hell is wrong with that? Well, unless you can’t take a joke, and if you’re one of those, do try to lighten up already. But that idea of being a lifelong troll fits Old Man Gloom like a glove.
For their last release “The Ape of God,” the band sent out a promo version that combined songs from each version of the record, making it seem like only one album was coming. Nope. Two. This is on top of their typical hijinks on social media where it seems like the band is in an endless turmoil of personal and professional issues, all of which are total bullshit and always hilarious. Now, six years later, the band is back with two more records again, though they showed their hand a few weeks back when they released one for immediate download on Bandcamp to give something cool to their fans suffering in quarantine. They teased ideas like making one record and then some members making a second record the other band members would know nothing about to pull the jokes inward, which is hysterical. Instead they dropped “Seminar VIII: Light of Meaning” and “Seminar IX: Darkness of Being” as two separate, altogether explosive releases that also fall after the passing of their bandmate Caleb Scofield, who does play on the album. The rest of the band—Nate Newton (guitars, vocals), Aaron Turner (vocals, electronics), Santos Montano (drums)—brought on Stephen Brodsky, Scofield’s bandmate in Cave In, to round out the group on two releases that are scarred with noise, blister your senses, but also show a vulnerable side to them that tries to celebrate the gifts we have right now.
“EMF” unloads noises that sound like stomach churning before the track openly mauls you, and Newton’s screams bruise your face, and then it’s onto “Wrath of the Weary” where Turner’s inhuman barks take front and center. The playing jolts, and long stretches of noise challenge your psyche before fading into a storm. “True Volcano” brings noise sheets and bubbling sounds that appear corrosive. The track then pounds away with Newton on fire repeating the call, “That fucking scares me!” over the chorus before the track melts back into the miasma. “Final Defeat” is the first of three lengthy tracks that round out the album, this one clocking in at 11:43. The first few minutes hum and sting before Brodsky takes over the singing, calling lines such as, “Saints and sinners, they’re all the same.” The song fades back into the noise cave while vocal harmonizing segues into a sound funnel. “Calling You Home” runs 11:08 and starts with serious jolts and guitars exploring terrain. Newton’s singing creeps into the picture as he wails, “I am watching, I am waiting,” while the track bubbles around him. The final moments mash hard before scraping away. “By Love, All Is Healed” is the closer and spirals into your psyche while seismic shifts and Turner’s barks pound you. Some clean notes hypnotize, as well as a preview riff that mimics the start of the opening track on “IX,” as this track repeats and agitates right to the final note.
“Procession of the Wounded” pounds away from the start of “IX” with a repeating segment that powers the body of the song, later cut into with Turner’s shouts that only serve to amplify the effects of the room spinning. “Heel to Toe” is a quick smasher of pounding sludge and Newton’s shouts peeling paint from the walls. That continues until everything is devoured by a sound storm. “The Bleeding Sun” has guitars awakening, Turner shouting at you, and a pace that suddenly speeds up. The track punishes and smashes before a noise that sounds like an airplane freefalling wakes you up. “Canto de Santos” runs 10:20, and the front section has string being plucked from the earth and a long noodling war before the bottom drops out. “No more watching, no more waiting,” Newton vows as the guitars spill all over the place, and the track eventually is overtaken by beastly strangeness. “Death Rhymes” piles on acoustic guitars and buzzing as Faith Coloccia drops by to add her harmonies. The ambiance is moody and dark, ending in a bleeding squall. “In Your Name” runs a generous 12:31 and begins with sounds that feel like they emanate from the Atari version of Asteroids. Drums awaken and the riffs rule while Newton shouts over psyche sparks. It feels like cosmic shock in areas, while Turner belts over the chaos, and then we’re into a noise hum and what sounds like a handful of change rattling around in the dryer. “Love Is Bravery” ends the collection, and it provides a glimmer and hope and optimism in the midst of the total lack thereof in our lives. “We only have now, we only have each other,” Newton calls, in the shadow of a fallen Scofield. Later on, Newton commands, “Love is strength, love is power,” before finally vowing, “We don’t break,” as the song rings out in clicks that sound like a camera taking snapshots of this moment in time.
Old Man Gloom have been through a ton amongst each other with losing their friend and bandmate, though forging ahead together as a collection of family members, not just a band, really shines through on “Seminar VIII” and “Seminar IX.” These are lively, corrosive albums that don’t have an inch of fat on them and sound as good as anything that preceded them. OMG live on, they’ve solidified their connection together, and it won’t be long until they’re endlessly fucking with us again.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/OLDMANGLOOM
To buy the album, go here: https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com/?
For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/