Old Gray
Slow Burn


4.5
superb

Review

by Connor CONTRIBUTOR (32 Reviews)
December 7th, 2016 | 427 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: put down the knife.

Every once in a while, the concept of destiny seems completely real. Not the fairy tale boy-meets-girl destiny bullshit, although some may believe it, that’s not the type of destiny that interests me. I’m talking about the subtle things in life, the things you don’t notice at first. Destiny in the form of the seemingly insignificant, that’s the kind I’m talking about. Maybe destiny isn’t even the right word but it’s happenings like these that capture my attention. The times where you are convinced that things happen for a reason and that you’re meant to be where you are now: a reassurance.

I guess you could say I was “destined” to listen to slow burn at this time in my life.

I’m not entirely sure I can properly express exactly why I believe the fact that the release of Old Gray’s second studio album is a part of my fate, but one line sticks out in particular that might help illustrate this idea. From the spoken word piece, ‘like blood from a stone’, featured New Hampshire poet, William James, solemnly spews this line: “now you write poems about how to stay alive, you write poems about the places you feel at home rather than the places you wish you could be”. Just 30 seconds later the band breaks out into a cacophony of noise, swarming the listener with distortion and darkness. Then it ends. Not the album but the mindset--a change in perspective. I was destined to hear that line at this time in my life, and yet it’s just a small gear in the brooding machine of this album.

I was destined to hear those first five tracks alone in my room.

From the poignant, staccato screams and snare hits in the opening track ‘pulpit’, to the desperate yells that begin ‘razor blade’, the opening five songs bite hard and viscously. Lead singer Cameron Boucher showcases his ability to reimagine the genre of skramz and screamo, especially with lead single ‘everything is in your hands’ which contains a dichotomy of screamed vocals and his usual, calmer style of singing. Although a bit strange at first, the coupled vocals surprisingly work mostly due to the mirrored contrast within the abrasive guitar work and the fluttering piano lines that back the first minute of the track. Clocking in at six minutes, the first half of the album speeds by the listener at an alarming rate giving them little time to comprehend what just hit them.

I was destined to message my friend as the album turned a corner, and he was destined to be listening to the exact same thing.

The theme of contrast is stubbornly present on this LP as the second half takes a much needed deep breath allowing for two atmospheric piano interludes and two spoken word pieces. Ignoring the out of place, old-school skramz-inspired track ‘given up to you’, the album ends blissfully. Closer ‘on earth, as it is in heaven’ sees Old Gray revisiting the Daisy-meets-Sunbather instrumentals present throughout the album but without any vocals. The exclusion proves to be a successful one, however, as the track more than holds its own, completing the bi-polar album in a satisfying, climactic manner.

So, was it really destiny or am I just grasping at straws? Was it fate that an album so two-faced reflected the transformation of my own mindset splitting into contradicting binaries? Was it pure coincidence that the lyrical themes of struggle and perseverance perfectly captured my own present battles, both moral and physical? I guess if you want there to be a connection and you try hard enough to make that connection it will happen. I wanted that connection. I needed it. And now here it is.



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user ratings (101)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

so this is my 20th review and I kinda wanted it to be a unique one. this all came rushing out and I guess I needed to get all of this off my chest. hopefully it doesn't come across as too cheesy or whatever. feedback of course appreciated

stream it here: https://oldgray.bandcamp.com/album/slow-burn

Digging: Palm (PA) - Shadow Expert

calmrose
December 7th 2016


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

the spoken word parts completely kill this album for me, they feel way too over-the-top

Digging: Armchairpolitician - Seven Segment Decoder

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

a letter for zach I can see but the first spoken word was really well done imo

calmrose
December 7th 2016


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

"pulpit" is the least cringe of the three and I can't stand "like blood from a stone"

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

oh didn't even count 'pulpit' I guess but 'like blood from a stone' hit me really hard. also i hate the term try-hard especially in mediums like this. over the top i can see as valid criticism but trying too hard especially with written pieces and music makes no sense to me as a complaint.

calmrose
December 7th 2016


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I guess by "try-hard" I mean that those moments feel forced and melodramatic more than anything else, in particular "like blood from a stone"



anyways, there's still some great moments on this, especially the closer

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

your rating seems too low tho man just for 2 spoken word tracks

GreyShadow
December 7th 2016


1482 Comments


like blood from a stone got me. Immediately intriguing but it didn't really have me just yet but then it just kinda...started to slowly burn. I don't think I like this as much as An Autobiography on first listen since this feels too underdeveloped with all of these super short tracks that kinda just shift from both sides of a spectrum at one point or another. But I will admit, those short spurts of aggression are so immensely powerful.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

very powerful indeed. this album killed me emotionally

calmrose
December 7th 2016


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

"your rating seems too low tho man just for 2 spoken word tracks"



I basically don't like the second half of this save for the closer, the two interludes don't really add much or feel necessary and "given up to you" is kind of pointless, and I'm also not really a fan of "pulpit."



idk, perhaps a 2.5 is a bit harsh, but I don't see this really above a 3 for me

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

fair enough I guess.

also edited the review a bit

GreyShadow
December 7th 2016


1482 Comments


I really dug the interludes booking like blood from a stone. I still can't get over how the track turned out. I really needed that

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

dude I feel you so hard I needed this album badly and that track especially

GreyShadow
December 7th 2016


1482 Comments


2nd listen and the style is clicking with me much more. This made my night

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2016


14009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

ive listened to this about 7-8 times by now. glad it's clicking with ya now tho man

FreddieDelaney31
December 7th 2016


2946 Comments


Wait is this the dude from Sorority Noise?

Digging: Captain, We're Sinking - The King of No Man

FullOfSounds
December 7th 2016


15222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey nice review. I like the personal aspects of it, they were done very well.

MarsKid
December 7th 2016


4776 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

People keep getting those AOTY lists out already when the year isn't over



December always gets the shaft.

JoylessBastard
December 7th 2016


227 Comments


Yeah, it's Cam Boucher.

MarsKid
December 7th 2016


4776 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorority members involved?



Now I'm definitely hearing this.



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