Stylistically similar to The Ape of God, Old Man Gloom now return with Light of Meaning and Darkness of Being, baring more teeth and grit than ever before. The once-separated noise tracks had long married with the doom/hardcore moments since 2012’s NO and serve as scratchy, uncomfortable tension created by guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner to further progress his drone/noise explorations post-ISIS. The Newton-led “EMF” and “True Volcano” rip through with rugged delivery and thunderous swagger in Montano’s pummeling. “Wrath of the Weary” brings “Shoulder Meat” vibes, before speeding up to the swinging riffs and squealing feedback. As sorely missed as Scofield’s ferocious vocal contributions are, to hear Brodsky belting out his harsh-vox again is refreshing, breathing life as a new higher-pitched bellowing personality in the savageness of “Final Defeat”. Just as refreshing is Newton showcasing more singing behind the vulnerable buildup in the verses of “Calling You Home”. “By Love All Is Healed” reveals a momentary surprise for those who checked out the early-released Darkness of Being sneakily transitioning towards the “Procession from the Wounded” riff before breaking into a pummeling, haunting drone march.
With seasoned, old collaborators like Ballou and Bayles behind the production helm (per usual), bringing out the best sounding project out of the band thus far, Seminar VIII and IX bring 13 matured OMG tracks that in culmination of this project and its members’ history is a tribute and testament that love in the most arduous, exhausting, and hopeless times during loss and death will persevere.
Old Man Gloom is forever Aaron Turner, Nate Newton, Santos Montano, Steve Brodsky, and Caleb Scofield. [Sputnik Music]