Review Summary: The emergence of Old Man Gloom began with Meditations in B that is filled with fast and heavy doom/sludge metal riffs in a well put together album.Old Man Gloom
is a band that most people know one or two of the members, but they have no idea who they are as a band. Do the names Nate Newton or Aaron Turner ring a bell? If you are unaware, Nate Newton is apart of the hardcore cult known as Converge
and has recorded with Converge since the album When Forever Comes Crashing
. On the other hand, Aaron Turner is the lead singer and guitarist of the Metal band ISIS
. Other credits due to Old Man Gloom include Santos Montano (Forensics) and Caleb Scofield (Cave In). Old Man Gloom’s initial release was Meditations in B
in 1999. After listening to both of ISIS and Converge albums that came out around this time, this album made that much more sense. They combined similar elements of both bands to create a doom metal sound that is invigorating.
Meditations in B
is one of the darkest albums I have ever encountered. The presence overlapping the album is haunting and mystifying. “Afraid Of” starts innocently with a swaying guitar riff that soon jumps straight down the throat of the album with coarse vocals with pounding drums and bass guitar. “Afraid Of” sets an overall terrifying tone of what is upcoming that would leave one to think if they will need a hearing aid after the album is through. Their riffs are fast. Their riffs are slow. Some are melodic, but nothing lasting too long. As the next tracks pulsate through(“Flood I” and “Sonic Wave of Bees”), I feel a vibe from the release The Red Sea
with certain breakdowns and guitar work involved. While The Red Sea was a brilliant piece in its own form, Meditations in B brings out a beast from within.
After these spurts of metal lightning, I was looking at the track listing. I saw many songs that were in fact under two minutes and only two that over that mark (excluding the Hidden Bonus). When the first of these two surfaced, “Simian Alien Technology Message Received,” I was not sure what to expect. What I received was an ambient noise interlude that kept my precious ears from buying my anticipated hearing aids. Old Man Gloom knew exactly where to place each filler track, you could say, throughout the albums contents. Whether it was one or two bursts of menacing doom metal, there was a track to come that would relieve the senses. “Sonar Enlightenment Program,” contains what seems of a plot from a show or movie with another ambient noise encounter for a whopping five minutes. As the track fades, it builds up to a stellar track in “Rotten Primate.” Screeching vocals and fast instrumentals shove a pitchfork up your backside for the first half. The second half begins with a faded out repetition of what was going on earlier with faint vocals. It then sporadically comes back with full sound and closes soon there after.
The album continues on its sludge and doom metal ways entwined with ambient interludes of fulfillment. Heavy bass, guitar, and vocal distortion create a violent ear explosion when listening. The plus side of the album is that it flows well. It reminds me of a similar project done with Catch 33
in the sense that the album is ever flowing from start to finish. While the sound is nothing similar and the song does not continue between tracks, the context of coherence among the album is there. While the songs may not be of long length, they hold their ground in a feeling of mayhem with a hardcore twist added. Meditations in B
is ugly, fast, ambient, and loud. Milton once said in the movie Office Space, “I was told I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from 9 to 11.” Well, I can only suggest you listen to any of Old Man Gloom’s work and Meditations in B during that time. Any other time and it may be hard to hear afterwards if it is too loud. Brace and embrace this album for all it is worth.
Recommended Tracks include:
Sonic Wave of Bees