Somewhere between the massive gritty riffing of sludge and the pissed-off fury of hardcore lies Boston’s Zozobra, a project started in 2006 by Cave In and Old Man Gloom‘s Caleb Scofield. Initially concerned with more upbeat atmospheric sludge along the lines of Baroness and Intronaut, the project has since turned towards powerviolence levels of aggression, not out of place on a playlist featuring the likes of Nails or Early Graves. The band’s new album Savage Masters — out now on Brutal Panda Records — is the band’s most aggressive and blistering album to date. Scofield wrote up a track-by-track breakdown of the album for us, which you can read below.
I’ve always been a bit perplexed by Zozobra, the cross genre musical side-project of Caleb Scofield of Cave In fame. The band was formed in 2006 by Scofield, who has been a member of the sludge super group Old Man Gloom, and for those who know what Zozobra is, you’d know that it is more commonly known as Old Man Gloom. So that means Scofield is involved with two sludge metal bands that share practically the same name. I don’t know, it’s just always been a bit weird to me.
I’m not going to go on about how great 2012 was for music, because everyone of my co-writers has already done that and then some. There’s no denying it was great, so let’s just move on. I’m writing this list pretty last minute, as I’ve had my choices locked in for some time, and I thought, “Hey, I’m not confused about anything, so I can push it back as far as possible”, and that was a terrible idea, as I’m now scrambling to get this thing finished, and having a hard time really talking about why I like these albums. However, I was the one who reviewed a lot of these, so if you find what I have to say on each individual one lacking, just go read my review or the reviews of the other albums written by my fellow contributors.
Honestly though, I did not love 2012 as much as everyone else. Maybe it was the events in my personal life that caused me to have such a poor outlook on a lot of the earlier releases of the year, but it’s hard to deny the fact that I just did not connect with nearly as many metal releases this year as I did last year. It’s a shame, but not something I’ve overly thought about, because I’ve found other music to enjoy throughout the year. That being said, I did happen to find a good handful of great albums that I anticipate listening to for many years. Like I said, I’ve had my choices for my list picked out for some time, and that’s because I knew which albums I loved, and which albums I wanted to continually listen to for many years to come. I wasn’t wowed by a lot of the big name bands; I found Meshuggah and Gojira lacking a bit, which were two of my my anticipated albums of this year, but that’s okay. Sometimes you just can’t connect with certain albums. And even though metal wasn’t all that great for me this year, I still love the genre, and it’s still my favorite type of music to listen to. Anyways, that’s why I listen to metal, and that’s really all I have to say on the matter, so here’s my top ten albums of the year.
Recorded as part of their new album sessions, Converge offer up the blazing new song “No Light Escapes.” Already a staple of their live set, this whirlwind of an emotional charged song is a soon to be a discordant hardcore/metal anthem for the band. Also on the release, Converge offer a “We Are The World” styled rendition of the influential Entombed classic “Wolverine Blues“. Joining them in tribute is a number of friends including Tomas Lindberg (Disfear, At The Gates, Lock Up), Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Split Cranium), Kevin Baker (APMD, The Hope Conspiracy), Brian Izzi (Trap Them), and more. A new Converge album will surface later in 2012 on Epitaph/Deathwish.
On the flip side, metal pioneers Napalm Death offer up two new aural monsters. First, “Will By Mouth” erupts in classic grind fashion. A buzz of brutal guitars and a crushing blast beat lay a foundation for Barney Greenway’s vicious vocal attack. All of it uniquely bleeding together to paint a vivid picture of social unrest. Also on the release, Napalm Death offer the slower and textural new song “No Impediment To Triumph (Bhopal)”. A deeply resonant number that lyrically sheds light on the horrific Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. Without question, “No Impediment…” is truly a powerful and poignant moment for this legendary band.
01. No Light Escapes – Converge
02. Wolverine Blues – Converge
03. Will By Mouth – Napalm Death
04. No Impediment To Triumph (Bophal) – Napalm Death
01. Grand Inversion
02. Common Species
04. To Carry The Flame
05. The Forking path
06. Shadowed Hand
09. Shuddering Earth
[Hydra Head Records]
Old Man Gloom haven’t been heard from in quite a while. Coming off of an eight year hiatus, the latest offering from this supergroup of sorts arrived with sparse rumours – at different times both confirmed and denied – and while an album had been rumored to be recorded and released for years now, nothing solid came from the enterprise until earlier this year when it was announced that the band would be embarking a small run of select shows. For those lucky enough to attend those shows, they would be treated to an early release of the band’s brand new album, NO. Not wanting to confine the album to such a small sect of people, Hydra Head Records has planned a full scale release for later this month. For those wondering if this album is a worthy contender in the line of OMG releases, here’s your answer:
Most of this has revolved around the on-again off-again rumours regarding a new OMG record. My hopes were raised, dashed again within a week, and lifted again all in the space of a couple of months, with no word since July.
Well, Hydrahead have announced in their usual fashion (above) some upcoming releases and re-releases with vague dates, including a sans-fanfare tidbit that Old Man Gloom will be releasing Christmas Eve 1 & 2 + 6 + Live In NY some time in November. That’s pretty freaking close…damn you and your lies Ballou!
If this is a trend, then I’m going to start talking about old defunct bands that I love in the hopes that they’ll reform/release new music. So, who here has heard of Refused…?
Also fairly exciting for vinyl collectors is the news that Hydrahead are pressing a new run of Botch‘s seminal album We Are The Romans. If you collect vinyl and don’t have this (Alkahest!) then you should definitely get on this. Pre-orders go live September 28th here.
[EDIT: It seems my OMG knowledge is lacking, and Christmas Eve I & II + 6 was originally released in 2003 - this looks to be a re-release too, potentially with live recordings. I shall now go and perform seppuku]
The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Old Man Gloom – Christmas
Me again. Dan’s finishing up a few other things so I’ve gladly taken the opportunity to waffle on about something close to my heart, Now, I know the weather’s getting colder and the leaves browning, but it’s still way too fucking early to start talking about Christmas, amirite?
Wrong. It’s always a good time to talk about Christmas.
I am of course, however, talking about an album. What kind of metal blogger would I be if I compromised the integrity of Dormition’s fine column to instead ramble about egg-nog and Santy Claus?
This Old Man Gloom fiasco, started a couple of months ago, is starting to pees me orf. I blame that talentless hack* Kurt Ballou entirely; he started, and then quashed the rumour that the band, for whom he produces, would be putting out their highly anticipated fifth studio album soon. These guys, somewhat under the radar for many, are a quality force in sludge metal – when they’re not busy with their primary bands – and so naturally I got excited at the prospect.
Well, The PRP have reported that buried somewhere in the recently released Hydrahead Records advert is a sneaky clue – the phrase “OMG 5 2012″ written on a book in the background – giving rise to the prospect of a new album next year.
I can’t actually see it myself, unless it’s the book between ‘Cave‘ and ‘In‘, but if you can spot it in the large version of the ad (here) then let us know.
Whilst you do so, listen to the opening track form the band’s last album. It’s fucking awesome and may possibly crush your balls/ovaries.
Alright, so it seems I got way too excited about the prospect of a new Old Man Gloom album, and blew the tidbit of information from producer Kurt Ballou’s Facebook out of all proportion. Dang it!
As our big brother Metalsucks reports, Kurt recently retracted his previous statement, saying:
whoops. nevermind about Old Man Gloom. they forgot to write songs, so they’ve cancelled
And in response to the understandable disappointment:
hey, i want an new OMG too. i think i’m just going to write it and record it myself and see if i can pass it off as them. i have played drums, guitar, and sang on their records before, so it’s ok, right? it will be called “easter.”
So it could happen, but not any time soon. In the words of Ziltoid, BALLS!
Despite having been kicking around this place for the best part of eighteen months, I’ve not yet had the opportunity to blow my load over anything related to Old Man Gloom – the seminal sludge/doom band formed many a year ago by members of ISIS, Converge, Cave In and Agoraphobic Nosebleed – because they having put out a record in seven fucking years.
Fair enough – it’s a ‘sometimes’ side-project for them, and the guys have been busy. Nate Newton (guitar, vocals) and Kurt Ballou (producer) have been busy making some of the best hardcore records of the noughties, as well as the latter handling desk duties for some other brilliant releases during the same period (Kvelertak‘s recent self-titled, Doomriders, Trap Them, Genghis Tron and Beecher, to name but a few). Caleb Schofield (bass) has had his hands full reforming Cave In, and Aaron Turner (vocals, guitar) was up to his neck in ISIS.
But the planets seem to have aligned, and with everyone free (or at least semi-free), Kurt announced last night that after a massive hiatus, we can expect new material from OMG in the near future. OMG indeed.
For those unfamiliar (which may be a number of you – young whelps!), give the following tracks a listen and try not to love them. Absolutely crushing.
More after the jump, including the sublime acoustic track “Clenched Tight In The Fist Of God” and the charmingly-entitled “Rape Athena“. Maybe that’s got something to do with why she’s got white arms?