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on 14 January 2005
Heard Seminar 2 a couple of times, then lost it; never got it back. I seem to recall it was exactly the same as this one, though. Namely, about five hundred levels of noise, sound frequencies, arty mumbling, buried (though perceptible) humour and the occasional crushing rock-out; like Neurosis meets Kyuss meets Mogwai. There's some strangled wailing from Eugene "Oxbow" Robinson on here somewhere; clearly Old Man Gloom is not a band per se, but a Grand Central Station for passing nutjobs. Excellent.
The sleeve notes are not pretentious so much as hysterically funny (especially the 'Things That Would Make My Life Better...' list), and even funnier is the mondo bizarro Dr Strangelove-type dialogue on 'Something For The Mrs.' Oh, and the artwork is quite incredible.
It's true that the vocals don't stray beyond a generic roar'n'holler routine, and yes, the final track lasts about two years, but I find it hella refreshing that something as droll and unfathomable (and NOISY!) as this can exist nowadays. There's nothing wrong with pretention, as long as you're doing something with it - Old Man Gloom seem to be deliberately messing with your head and creating an aura of mystery, just like Chris Morris (and just NOT like the frigging Libertines).
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on 20 March 2008
...I discovered this band out of pure curiosity...the name of the band was rather cliched but I knew that names were not the reason to judge a band...what's more to call the album "christmas" was even more intriguing...this is definetely not a christmas album (we have X factor for that manure...or in your case American Idol) and mixes in styles of ambience with heavy sludge... unless you didn't know this band is a supergroup and consists of band members from Isis (post rock with screaming) Cave-In (Decides not to scream later on which was...meh) and converge (mathcore leaders...well one of them) and together they form this...three bands have a baby and make a heavy and at the same time ambiently confused with unusual beauty but would attack anyone who approached:

Gift 10/10: Starts off with static that gradually tones into an accoustic guitar playing simple chords...after a while a male choir sings "This is our gift" and then the guitars and drums get much heavy and distorted...although the exact same riff is repeated throughout the song with minor adjustments to is done very well...then the screamer comes on (I don't want to talk about his vocal...they work at parts but I just don't feel this album needed these vocals...but just an opinion) and then it fades out...

Skullstorm 9/10: This song is very short...merely 50 seconds...but what a storm it is...instantly grabbed by this sudden explosion of guitar that then flows and loops through the bass and drums with the vocals actually working for this heavier song...beautifully destructive...and then stops aruptly with a loud crash...

Something for the Mrs 10/10: The cold beauty that they got out of this ambient simplicity is astounding...starting off with simply two synthed notes and a general technical mess about around it...then through the megaphone we hear "Every man shall be given their own archbishop...fully inflatable" there is much more to it then that but it has to be heard to be believed...try listening to it in an isolated space...

Sleeping with snakes 8/10:...after the hypnotic synths we are then thrown into another riff that very quickly becomes heavy and aggressive...the tempo increases and flows well but it's nothing I haven't heard before or done better...

Luke 1 8/10: Not exactly a stand out track but nice and soothing...some good guitars and stuff...

Tis better to recieve 9/10: Some people might think "*Groan* another heavy track; I sense a pattern here" and yes there really is an obvious pattern of ambience then heaviness but that's the beauty of being in a meditative state you have to let the thoughts flow by and not think on it (well in my version anyway) it has a riff that sludges along (note the genre sludge) and add minor tweaks to it (e.g. make it heavier quieter add a pentagonic scale over it) and then it ends with a twin scream...even if you think that sounds bad it's because I made it sound is very interesting...

Accord O Matic 10/10: I love this song more and more every time I listen to seems to progress from static to gradual instrumentations to an accordian riff and back out is so slow and gradual it can prepare you for...

Volcano 10/10: I heard this song before I heard the entire album and it really grew on me...starts off with a quick and simple riff...then a thunderous bass and drums kicks in and lead guitar twangs around it with awkward sound clips of voices one saying "YOU MAKE ME FEEL" working well with the random high pitched all builds up and the random high pitch turns into a scream and a huge explosion of heaviness as the guitars double up and the low screamer decides he wants to play after all...this is repeated a few times along the seven minutes of the track...and one of the best songs...don't miss it...

Close your eyes and roll back 9/10: Like the title suggests this is a time of calm the accoustic guitars are calmly whirring it sounds like someone is trying to hypnotise you and lull you alseep...until...yet again...

Girth and Greed 9/10: Yet again more heaviness is thrown at you with another riff sonically distorted to a certain level and played around with...some may have a lack of attention span to get this far...but you'd seriously regret it for the grand finale...

Caleb and the Cowboy 8/10:...hmm...nothing new I must admit...more guitar dwaddling but still very soothing and flows...which is the most important thing in an album...unless intentionally hard to listen to...

Viking Song 8/10: And the final heavy song....heavy? the other songs but goes with it well...

Christmas Eve 10/10: It's very hard for me to describe this without missing out the powerful powerful growth this song can the other songs it gradually builds up but in such a way that when it breaks into ambience later on in the feel a strong sense of loss...I can't wait to actually try playing this on christmas eve and seeing the affect it has on me...

...if you like heavy music with an experimental twist you should like long as you are not too pretentious to just assume that it's not as good as isis...that would be a very grave mistake...
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on 4 January 2005
Now, these guys are pretentious. In fact, pretentious doesn't begin to sum it up. If Pretentious were a place on the map, then Old Man Gloom would have set up a medieval castle there, complete with a village, a town, a market, a monarchy, a Court Jester and a population to rival that of Nottingham. But I think that may be part of the point. Indeed, Old Man Gloom seem to be an exercise in pretentious noise-making - Track 3, Something For The Mrs, only seems to have 2 chords, which sound like they were played on an electric organ or some similar synthesiser, and are repeated for over 5 minutes, nearly 6...
Then there're spoken word vocals, which state that "...Every man shall be provided with a small but perfect Archbishop Spellman which will be self inflatable, curtesy of air reduction." Artistic? Intelligent? Effective? Or just a load of rubbish created by a pretentious twit?
Indeed, the album also features the heavy pieces that endeared Old Man Gloom to the extreme music magazines - blasts of screamed vocals, distorted guitars and up-tempo noise make up the fantastic Skullstorm, and the album is made up of so many layers that it will take more than one listen to pick up on everything it has to offer.
Something of a slow burner, and definitely one of the truly great musical offerings of 2004.
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on 6 July 2005
Liked Isis, bought this, enjoyed it, but not quite as good as Aaron Turners original project, promising though! :)
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