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Old Man Gloom : Seminar III: Zozobra

Imagine crossing the desert in the middle of the night, the vast landscape of mesas and cacti pass by you car as you hurtle into the darkness. Lightning cracks in the distance, the storm beckons you, and you are drawn to it....

Now imagine the perfect soundtrack to such a scenario. That soundtrack is '...Zozobra'. Old Man Gloom (OMG.) are not a normal band in any sense. A 'supergroup' of the US East Coast hardcore scene, they make a bizarre brand of sludgy hardcore drone, that should appeal to a wide spectrum of listeners. 'Seminar III: Zozobra' is the third release from the outfit, and is a companion to their 'Seminar II...' album. The concepts this band has decided to follow, centre on their obsession with apes and aliens, hence their phrase 'alien simian technology'. Joke or not, the music speaks for itself.

The album is one piece, nearly half an hour in length. This may sound familiar to most listeners of all things doom, but is in fact the only such piece OMG. have written. Starting out quietly, a few squelching noises, tape drones in the background, the listener certainly gets the sense that they are about to embark on a journey. The song then slowly begins to build, in a way that would make Mogwai turn their heads, adding acoustic guitars, and building on a central theme until it finally pounds you with the full band. There are only four or so riffs in the entire song, but the manipulation of each one, particularly rhythmically, makes for an absorbing listen. I defy anyone not to find himself or herself with a wry grin as they notice the subtle manipulations and changes, all designed to keep the listener very much interested, yet never sounding contrived. The album sounds like a thunderstorm, the crafting of each riff is like that of a clap of thunder, distilled, and repeated until you submit. Add to this an eerie use of samples, and in the last riff, a wah-wah guitar solo, and you have one of the most satisfying musical journeys you will embark on.

So what has this to do with doom? It’s heavy, very heavy, and slow, although a word of caution to the average listener of so-called 'doom metal' - the vocals are very much in the shouted hard core style, and may not appeal to fans of the more dramatic or gruff deliveries. If you look past this factor, you should find a song that deserves a place alongside other epic metal classics such as 'Jerusalem' and 'Crimson'.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Zozobra

Duration : Approx. 28 minutes

Visit the Old Man Gloom bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Mark Bodossian
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