“No” is the perfect title for Old Man Glooms newest release and first album in eight year, during which fans have had ample time to get all sweaty-palmed about new OMG material. Their past catalog can at times feel chaotic and maybe a little disjointed. But with this new release, the band has concentrated each members ultimate strengths to construct something so bone-crushingly massive – and, seriously, just plain awesome – that you can’t help but imaging the album growing fists and beating your ears to a pulp, all the while shouting “NO!”
History: I’m no expert on OMG, but the gist of it is the band started as a metal/hardcore/freakout project under the guidance of Aaron Turner. They juxtaposed ludicrously heavy riffs against eerie ambient passages and clusters of decaying noise. Their last album – Christmas – was released eight years ago, which is like between today and when electricity was invented in album-release years. Since their inception, the group has been held in extremely high regard by the metal community; Turner has also expressed his pride in the project, and deserves being singled out for his contribution to expanding metal through Isis, Mamiffer, and the entire Hydra Head label. Hell, even NPR loves him.
Although I’ve heard people refer to the group as “metal for thinking men (or women!)”, No has a large hardcore influence, which can be attributed to the addition of Converge’s Kurt Ballou and Nate Newton on guitars, as well as bass from Cave In’s Caleb Scofield. Most of the more abstract passages on the album are Turner’s doing, and this time Old Man Gloom has struck a good balance between ambitious sound experimentation (“Shadowed Hand”) and pure fucking fun (“To Carry The Flame”). With the aforementioned big names behind this project, its not surprising how good the album is; No has a sense of scale like Christopher Nolan: every second is tension and release. Its pleasure in pain. Old Man Gloom’s vision was appropriately grandiose with this one. “The Forking Path” contains an absolutely blinding lead that would slay Iron Maiden on the spot, and whilst the fact that it exists in the first place is kind of cliche, “Crescent” is one hell of a loner ballad. Go see what all that chatter is about.