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?
I’ve rambled about sludge supergroup Old Man Gloom a few times now, but not really given you any depth on them or their legacy. Well, here’s me rectifying this, because this record is absolutely amazing.
Being the smarmy git that I am, when people ask me what my favourite Christmas song is, I always answer something smug like “Gift” or “Valhalla“, to looks of confusion and consternation from all but those in the know. I’ve spent many an evening concentrating on nothing but these thirteen tracks, and it’s a firm favourite between me and my best friend; a source of bonding with others. Good music is fine, but this album really is a cut above.
It’s not even that flashy, but the true genius is in its dichotomy. The aforementioned “Gift” opens with a menacing strummed acoustic section before ripping into a scintillating and incredibly powerful, crunchy distorted continuation. From there the album flits between aggressive riffing on songs like “Skullstorm” and “‘Tis Better To Receive” – backed by the thundering voice of ex-Isis frontman Aaron Turner – to creepy atmospheric and drone tracks like “Close Your Eyes, Roll back Into Your Head” and “Christmas Eve” and quirky pieces like “Something For The Mrs.“, whose spoken word passage is taken from a poem by Ernest Hemingway.
So although this is a record I have made a tradition of playing on Christmas Eve, it’s a dark and brooding collection of something a bit different. Although there are flashes of the members’ day-job bands, Old Man Gloom cuts its own path and deserve a prime position in your collection.