Greetings Gloompa Loompas! Back toward the end of March 2020, which feels like eons ago, the experimental ambient sludge quintet Old Man Gloom (OMG) pulled a “reverse gloom” on us. Instead of dropping their two new LPs on the official release date of May 22nd via Profound Lore, they instead published their second album, Seminar IX: Darkness of Being, well in advance of the first, Seminar VIII: Light of Meaning, as a gift to the world. This tactic is rather uncharacteristic of the ape troupe, especially when compared to the antics (i.e., “gloom”) leading up to the dawn of their Ape of God era in 2014. At that time, they dropped the eponymous record to reviewers and news outlets alike, however, they soon divulged that it was a fake and that Ape of God is actually two LPs. For brevity, I’ll skirt the plethora of details, the chagrin of music journalists who reviewed the counterfeit album, and note that Ape of God were formative records for both Connor and myself. Not only did OMG’s antics give us something snicker at, but it also expanded our respective extreme metal horizons and simultaneously entrenched between us a riverbed through which our friendship would deepen and flourish.
Seminar IX: Darkness of Being is a heartfelt tribute to Caleb Scofield (bassist for Cave In, Zozobra, and OMG), who tragically passed away in March of 2018. Most, if not all compositions, comprising this record harbor his memory. Be it through lyrics, unfinished tracks and/or bass lines Caleb crafted years ago, or the poignant effusion of grief, the healing process endured by each OMG member radiates throughout this seminar to commit his life to the timelessness of recorded sound. Admittedly, Connor and I are not so familiar with OMG’s pre-Ape of God work (exceptions being NO and Christmas), though relative to the Ape of God era, Darkness of Being expands the troupe’s tonal palette. “Death Rhymes” emanates a cozy living room feel as a droning, dirgeful organ accompanies a loving acoustic guitar melody. Contemplative ambient swells lull as if an endless gaze upon a serene expanse will dredge understanding. Yet still, we are treated to the off-kilter experimentation commonplace to OMG and other Aaron Turner adjacent projects: out of tune strings, mangled percussive notes, insidious gurgles of noise; it’s all there. Much more could be said here, but so as to not subtract from the conversation, I will refrain. We sincerely hope you enjoy our review as well as the little stories we share as it relates to OMG and their importance to us; thank you so much for tuning in.
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You can acquire a digital copy of Seminar IX: Darkness of Being via the Profound Lore Bandcamp page. There, you can also grab a CD. If you’re a wax fiend, vinyl is available on Profound Lore’s MerchTable web store. Also, follow the banana gorgers on Facebook and Instagram for some entertaining posts related to the outfit and their ever-flowing shenanigans.
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Our next album review is of Serpent Column’s latest mini-LP (MLP), Endless Detainment. However, before that episode drops, we’ll be bringing you another “Album Reviews” episode where Tim and I discuss the latest albums from Beneath the Massacre, Benighted, Black Curse, and DVT. Thank you to Duncan Park for supporting us.