Archive for the ‘Old Man Gloom’ Category

Anger Management: Old Man Gloom

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

Old Man Troll?

OK, this one is gonna be confusing. Take a seat and listen up.

To some, Old Man Gloom came to prominence with the release of 2012’s NO LP. Mixing heavy sludge, doom, weird ambient collages and a dash of hardcore, the band turned heads with not only their sound but the pedigree of its members. Having Nate Newton (Converge), Caleb Scofield (Cave-In), Jay Randall (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and ex Hydrahead Records Label boss/Isis frontman Aaron Turner amongst your ranks makes for some high expectations and they have delivered in making their albums and rare live appearances a hot ticket in the underground.

OMG have been a band since 1999, mostly releasing albums on the Tortuga Recordings label (a sub branch of Hydrahead). The albums have generally been a mix of longer droney/fuzzed out pieces (Seminar III: Zozobra) and ambient souncscape collages mixed with sludgy, more conventional ‘songs’ (Seminar III: Zozobra, Meditations in B).

After the release cycle of NO the band began work on new material in December 2013. It was announced in August 2014 that a documentary film would be released in October (Here Is A Gift For You) followed by a new album The Ape of God in November.

Anticipation was high and on November 4 the band posted something slightly throwaway (given the flippant/cryptic nature of the bands status updates), but important to note, on their Facebook page: “7 more days to the APE.
We will always lie to you.”

This was followed by an announcement that preorders for vinyl and CD copies would be available on different labels (Sige Records and Profound Lore). Whilst this is not really out of the ordinary, its also a telling sign of what was to come.

2 promo songs were released for streaming (‘The Lash’ and ‘Predators’) and review copies were sent to various review websites. Some high praise and scores were coming in and it seems like another top shelf release from the band. Some eagle eyed fans noticed that there were two separate versions of the new album for pre-order on Amazon. The band responded that it was probably a mistake and to thank fans for bringing it to their attention.

Then on November 7, a week before the album release proper, the band dropped a bit of a bombshell. You see, The Ape of God is 2 separate albums with different material. One version has 4 longer songs, the other contains 8 songs. Oh and that promo copy they gave to review sites that got leaked and you probably downloaded from a blog: that’s a fake copy.

Remember what they said earlier? “We will always lie to you.”

“Guess what, assholes. The Ape Of God is two entirely different albums. If you downloaded some leaked shit, you don’t have either. You have some bogus version we gave to press, cuz we knew those jerks would leak it (if you reviewed that fake record positively, thank you. We’re just THAT good).
We will always trick you.
We will always trick you.
We will always trick you.”

Well played guys. You trolled us all hard! Possibly one of the most well kept secrets in a long, long time. Arty pretentious wanky waste of time? Well, not really because the band has said that the “fake” version is still some quality stuff. “To be fair we, Old Man Gloom spent a lot of time on the music and putting together the “fake” version of the album. It is still music we believe in and 100% stand behind.”

So it seems that the fake version of this album contains a mix of tracks from both albums and some original material. The tracks that are actually on the official release, such as ‘The Lash’, are edited differently though (proper album version is just under 7 mins, the fake version is chopped down to 2:57).

So after all that, a careful prank/marketing scheme, what do the two albums sound like? Aaron Turner mentioned in an interview that, “With this record specifically, I tried really hard to make a more seamless synthesis of those two worlds. In a lot of the other records, it was split up in a more jarring and kind of cut and paste fashion where it was hard transitions between noise or ambient bits with the songs themselves. In this record, I really wanted to try to figure out how those things can be grafted onto each other or interwoven in a way that was really complementary and made them more of a singular thing rather than these bits that were sort of stitched together.”

That’s pretty spot on — the ambient/electronic parts tend to be smoother and more fitting. The sludgy riffing sounds awesome and very well produced. Vocals are a very Isis/Cult Of Luna-type roar.

At the moment ‘Predators’ is the best summation of their sound. The heavy and the sound-scapey. Old Man Gloom have pulled off the impossible, three times. You mad?

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.