I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say that Old Man Gloom albums are somewhat of a cathartic, almost religious, experience. Despite the exercises in sonic extremes, OMG always litter their albums with a certain ambiance that tempers the brutality making the music they create collectively not only unlike anything heard in their respective “day jobs” (Isis, Cave In, Doomriders, Zozobra, Converge, etc.) but also unlike anything out in current heavy music today. Is it magic when these four gentlemen convene in a room together? If The Ape Of God is the sole evidence then the answer is decidedly “yes!”
And what would a new Old Man Gloom album be without some mystery and trickery? Not since Keyser Soze fooled all those guys in that movie that one time has a bigger deceit been pulled off. No, not another “surprise” album a la 2012’s NO. This time OMG went above and beyond and at the 11th hour announced that The Ape Of God was not one album, but two (If you want the full story, check this story out)!
But if you’re reading this then you’re probably here for the music, the internet outrage that ensued after the curtain was pulled is just a bonus. But onto the music!
What you have collectively in The Ape Of God is 12 tracks of pure OMG that is easily their best yet. Much like Seminars II & III, both TAOG albums have separate identities but together form this glorious monster when listened through uninterrupted. I is probably the more “straightforward” of the two (As straightforward as OMG get anyways) while II, unlike Seminar III’s slow build single track, is a pulsating beast that is unrelenting in its majesty featuring three epic tracks with the lone “Predators” serving as a reprieve (If a 7-minute Nate Newton-fueled scorcher can be called a “reprieve”). On the topic of The Ape Of God II, “Burden” which kicks off the second LP has to be one of the most brutal, punishing, and most crushing epics laid down in 2014 as drummer Santos Montano truly brings the thunder much like Kurt Russell did in Tombstone.
“Simia Dei” off TAOG I , meanwhile, might be the bands best yet capturing all that magic within a short three minute instrumental timespan throbbing with an anticipation of what’s occurred and what’s still yet to come. It’s “Arrows To Our Hearts”, however, which is this complete mish mash of the members former and current bands beginning as an Isis track with Aaron Turner bringing the melody not the mayhem vocally then delving into one of Converge’s more experimental forays of late with Caleb Scofield laying down an unmistakable Cave In-fied bass line.
For those of you thinking 2014 was already over in terms of great, heavy albums you might wanna think about doing some quick edits to that “Best Of” list. The Ape Of God (both albums) is available now through Profound Lore and SIGE Records and even through Amazon and Itunes if you hate music that you actually have to touch.