Celestial sludge-metal supergroup Old Man Gloom return after tragedy with two new full-lengths | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Celestial sludge-metal supergroup Old Man Gloom return after tragedy with two new full-lengths 

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click to enlarge Old Man Gloom's new album Seminar IX: Darkness of Being

Old Man Gloom's new album Seminar IX: Darkness of Being

Courtesy of Profound Lore Records

Metalcore supergroup Old Man Gloom have often fallen silent for years at a stretch, but for two decades now they’ve occasionally emerged from the depths with an offering of their signature celestial sludge. This summer they’re delivering new material as a pair of albums, an approach they’ve used twice before (with Seminar II and Seminar III in 2001 and the twin Ape of God releases in 2014). Seminar VIII: Light of Meaning and Seminar IX: Darkness of Being (both on Profound Lore) are the first new Old Man Gloom releases since the 2018 passing of bassist and vocalist Caleb Scofield. The band have soldiered on, with Scofield’s Cave In bandmate Stephen Brodsky filling in on bass and fronting the band alongside guitarists Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac) and Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders). In Old Man Gloom’s early days, their records seemed to consist mostly of 40-second sludge blasts floating through swaths of synth fuzz and found sounds, but over the years their songs have become more realized and direct. On Seminar VIII and IX each of the band’s front men contributes material that delves further into the realms they respectively dominate: Newton’s tracks are blistering, knotty hardcore built on forward momentum and raw aggression, while Turner’s tracks are more challenging, leaning into the feels of his Sumac material with faux-tribal drums and death-metal grunts. Newcomer Brodsky arguably brings the best stuff to the table, providing a bit of respite from the barrage of brutality with his velvety pipes and psychedelic flair—he even adds an acoustic track (“Death Rhymes” on Seminar IX). Old Man Gloom have always been about rowdy heavy-metal fun, and despite tragedy, they keep that spirit alive on these two albums—even as they push themselves creatively further than they ever have. It’s as refreshing as it is crushing.   v

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