Old Man Gloom

Meditations in B

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One of the more curious but satisfying side projects of the early 2000s, Old Man Gloom set out on their strange but fascinating journey with 2000's Meditations in B. With its 14 tracks totaling just less than half an hour, the album feels almost more like an EP than proper full-length, yet, musically speaking, it brought enough creative heft not only to establish the group's inscrutable science- and primate-based lyrical preoccupations, but to determine the blueprint for hard/soft sonic extremes to be further played out on subsequent efforts. As such, violent metalcore bursts like "Afraid Of" and "Vipers" come interspersed with equal measures of ambient effects and sound collages ("Simian Alien Technology," "Sonar Enlightenment," etc.), some of them almost too silent to be heard sometimes. Maybe it's the inevitable thoughts of mother band Isis and their all-around "epic-ness" intruding into one's expectations, but, fact is, it's hard not to wish that minute-long gems like "Sonic Wave of Bees" and the all-too-short "Poisoner" had been stretched a little farther for the enjoyment of their awesome riffs. Likewise, all of those quiet snippets and techno bleeps often seem like more of a diversion than enhancement -- no matter how amusing their names ("An Evening at the Gentlemen's Club for Apes," "Test Results: Alien Ape Distress Signal," etc.) or their importance for conceptual continuity clues. Alas, the following year's astounding Seminar II and III better proved that these jarring juxtapositions were part and parcel to OMG's vision -- much like their primordial/futuristic subject matter, perhaps. In any event, Meditations in B is a solid -- not a brilliant -- first step, and should appease those fans who rightly rave over more recent efforts.

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