Old Man Gloom
The Ape of God I


4.5
superb

Review

by letme69johndarnielle USER (1 Reviews)
November 22nd, 2014 | 68 replies


Release Date: 11/07/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A cure for many things; anxiety isn't one of them.

The first time I decided to check out Old Man Gloom’s new double release, The Ape of God, it was seven in the morning after a sleepless night, and I was feeling distraught and hysterical. In the wake of a recent gunpoint robbery, I was attempting to find something to calm my mind. Being somewhat familiar with Aaron Turner’s prior work (Isis’ Oceanic is one of my favorite metal albums), I figured the new album would be a nice way to bury the voices in my head in slow, impenetrably heavy sound, the way krill get swallowed up by blue whales deep in the dark parts of the ocean.

As it turns out, this album is more of a rampaging elephant. The opening track, Eden’s Gates, begins with some ambient noise, the kind of eerie high-pitched whining that might play in a haunted jungle in a cheap horror movie. After that, the drums come in, and then a disjointed, absolutely relentless guitar riff, and the most gut-wrenching, shiver-inducing vocals that I have ever heard Turner muster.

The track hits like the giant stones that fall out of the sky in Bowser’s Castle. The production is effective; the drums cut right through the noise and feedback, the guitars are palpable, and the vocals are clearly audible, while the low end is crushingly powerful without overwhelming the rest of the music.

The opener gives an accurate impression of what to expect on the rest of the album, but Old Man Gloom make sure not to use a cookie-cutter template for every song. Never Enter and Fist of Fury are both pummelers like the first track, but contain other distinct elements as well. Never Enter showcases some bright, cascading guitar melodies, a fresh break from the wall-of-sound smash-your-face-in chords that dominate a lot of the album, while Fist of Fury features what sounds like a chimpanzee screaming wildly in the background, a fierce and visceral complement to Turner’s guttural howls. The third track, Shoulder Meat, is a bit closer to what I expected from the band; it’s a bit slower and doomier, certainly still heavy, but not quite the onslaught that some of the other tracks are.

Simia Dei is a sort of heavier post-rock tune, with some slow, meandering guitar melodies and a simple drum riff repeating while choral voices sing in the background - it’s really quite beautiful. Heavy as this album is, it is definitely not emotionless, which is kind of a deal-breaker for me when it comes to metal music. This is made even further apparent by The Lash, my personal favorite off of the album; white noise collides with a desperately sad and detached guitar melody, in what to me is either the climax or anticlimax of the album. The last two minutes explode into a ferocious riff and another riveting vocal performance from Turner, as if the band is trying to fight off its own melancholy with unbridled aggression.

The closer, After You’re Dead, is everything that the closer for this album should be. Thrashing chords, distorted melodies, the same incredible vocals, and more thundering drums. As it all dissolves, we are left with feedback and noise, speckled with cymbal crashes and some final desperate yelps from Turner, who is a force right up until the waning seconds of the album.

By the end, I was stomping and howling along.

Listening to it now for the 8th time or so, it’s 11 in the morning, after yet another sleepless night, and I really don’t feel any different. This album is a violent and living beast. The Ape of God isn’t exactly what I was looking for, and it didn’t exactly fix any of my problems, but god damn it has been a blast to listen to. If you enjoy heavy music, I don’t think there’s much not to like here. If you don’t… good luck out there.


user ratings (155)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
letme69johndarnielle
November 22nd 2014


147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

first review. feeling very wacky right now, and i really don't know how good this is.



thoughts and criticisms much appreciated. album is a sledgehammer.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2014


16089 Comments


I honestly think you should add a bit more personal touches to this review, it's just kinda robotic ya know??

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
November 22nd 2014


6681 Comments


Calc is a real people person lol

but yeah, nothing wrong with a personal approach, provided you can tie it to the album in some way. the first paragraph reads like some journal entry, and is pretty pointless in this review. it's just.... there.

"This was the point in the album when I realized that human beings were behind the whole thing"
....

idk man. I'm big fan of personal reviews, so I can't really criticize you for the emotional aspect of this review, but it felt kinda contrived. You laid it on pretty thick. I felt like I was invading your privacy by reading this, and now I should close the door slowly.

Relinquished
November 22nd 2014


39394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not what i expected for the first review for the album, but it goes to show how fucked lots of south american countries are

currently, I personally know lots who've gone through gunpoint robberies, and those in worse situations that make you

appreciate the little things such as your life's privilege to learn (don't take it for granted).



pos for the necessary outlet, though it is too personal. revise it to make it flow better and strenghten and shorten the

descriptions, also take out that darn misuse of 'transcendent'.

letme69johndarnielle
November 22nd 2014


147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks for the criticisms, folks. i write a lot, but this is something i've never done or thought about doing before. i will take it back to the cutting board and hopefully turn out something a little more concise.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
November 22nd 2014


6681 Comments


np man. for a first review this is pretty solid. if you want, for your next review you could post your first draft in the 'proofreading thread' in the site forum and someone can go over it for you.

still, a good read overall. it's always good to see new writers trying something different with their approach

letme69johndarnielle
November 22nd 2014


147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Johnny i did not know that existed. it's good advice for next time, since this is really just practice/fodder for the glowing 5 review i'm gonna write for I See A Darkness.

Sniff
November 22nd 2014


5444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stay well man!

TheBarber
November 23rd 2014


3758 Comments


can actually strongly relate to the latter chops of this review, been drowning/burning/dancing out
some of my own bleak moments lately through the Heavy and this record was one of it's bearers that
really hit the spot, disjointed but interesting read man. you planning on reviewing part 2?

letme69johndarnielle
November 23rd 2014


147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thank you Sniff and TheBarber. got some sleep last night and feeling a bit better, will feel better still once this review takes some form.



i might review part 2 as well if i can get this one under control. it's a more difficult album in general though, but just as awesome.

letme69johndarnielle
November 23rd 2014


147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok, the second iteration of the review is in. i'm much happier with this one, and would love it if anybody has any thoughts. i cut a lot of the bullshit personal parts without making it impersonal, which seems important.



on a side note, rereading the first version was pretty embarassing. my advice for the day: don't talk about Magic: Online anywhere on the internet except for Magic: Online.

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 23rd 2014


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I dug the review man. And this album slays. Especially disc 2.

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

h0rsie
November 24th 2014


50 Comments


Album stream anywhere ?

TheBarber
November 24th 2014


3758 Comments


http://www.stereogum.com/1717330/stream-old-man-gloom-the-ape-of-god-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/album-stream/
http://thequietus.com/articles/16664-old-man-gloom-the-ape-of-god-part-two-album-stream

h0rsie
November 25th 2014


50 Comments


Thanks

TheBarber
November 25th 2014


3758 Comments


a pleasure, Fist of Fury coupling with Simia Dei is just glorious man

titanslayer
November 28th 2014


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't understand why this is so highly rated. It must not be my thing or something

Veldin
November 28th 2014


3799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why don't you enjoy it, maybe that could better explain things?

titanslayer
November 28th 2014


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Idk I just didn't really think any of the riffs or anything were that interesting. I don't seem to like sludge metal as much as other people on this site so that's probably it

Veldin
November 28th 2014


3799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have you tried "Precambrian" by The Ocean Collective? That's a sexy one with tinges of post and prog metal.



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