Reviews Old Man Gloom No

Old Man Gloom

No

“THEY PLAYED ‘ZOZOBRA’! THEY PLAYED ‘ZOZOBRA’!”

Thank you for allowing me to get that out of my system as the shock of seeing Old Man Gloom resume the gloom only just recently is still fresh and firmly entrenched in my mind, and seeing as my wait to see the Old Man Gloom Institute for Simian Research has been much more than a decade in the making, reveling in the moment is something that I am still savoring with each memory (and the show was chock full of great moments such as their playing “Rape Athena” and the aforementioned “Zozobra”); while the band played, the new songs trickled out between well-known favorites (the new album, NO, was announced a mere days before the tour with few people having heard it, the songs were new to most people in attendance), and with every new blast, my friend and I kept looking at each other because of how good the songs sounded.

Listening to Old Man Gloom can be an exercise in aural endurance as they often times alternate between heavy and pummeling tracks and noise-y interludes (which some comment as being off putting), but with NO, the band further integrate the two dichotomies into the songs much more and incorporate the noise in a more subtle and sophisticated manner (save for the first track, “Grand Inversion”, which is all noise); the crushing “Common Species” (such a great song) and “To Carry The Flame” (the outro is just devastating) demonstrate such pummeling tendencies very well with its early Swans (not a cut at all, as this might be one of the highest compliments that I can give) rhythmic punishment as well as the noise as the noise and sampling and feedback are all present providing a perfect melding of the previous performance of Old Man Gloom. This is not to say that the band has eschewed its previous ability to craft a short and sweet blast of hardcore agro as “Regain / Rejoin” simply powers through with supremely violent riffs, and to be perfectly honest, NO might be the most vicious full length from Old Man Gloom yet; but while NO may be punishing, there are definitely some real brooding moments as well as some tension building pieces that round out the record and make the powerful riffing all the more effective (“Shadowed Hand” is such an awesome showcase of this ability just as “Rats” is a great example of them building up slowly to a killer peak), and with “Shuddering Earth” closing out the album as what could easily be considered the penultimate track of NO, Old Man Gloom seems to be evidence that this group knew exactly what they were attempting to do in incorporating all the touchstone sounds that they have become known for into one massive piece (almost like a little brother song to “Zozobra”).

As difficult as it is to be objective about NO, calling the album anything short of ten tons of awesome feels like a complete disservice to Old Man Gloom because they certainly seem to have outdone themselves with this record (not bad for what could easily be considered a side project at best when the members have off from their main projects, though at this stage the majority of the fellows that make up the Old Man Gloom Institute for Alien Simian Research have more time on their hands than they used and perhaps that is why we all get this massive new slab of music in the first place), and thankfully we get to revel in what is probably one of the most just crushing albums this year; indeed, RESUME THE GLOOM!

9.0 / 10Bob
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Hydra Head

2012

9.0 / 10

9.0 / 10

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