Old Man Gloom do not do things in the regular way. The last time we heard from the Boston experimental metal supergroup, it was 2014, and they were releasing two albums under the same title, The Ape Of God. (They also recorded a third, also called The Ape Of God, and sent it out as a promo to journalists. It inevitably leaked, but it was never properly released.) Last week, Old Man Gloom announced a forthcoming album called Seminar VIII: Light Of Meaning, set to arrive later this spring, and they shared the monster single “EMF.” But today, Old Man Gloom have surprise-released an entire album, and it’s the album that was supposed to come out after the one they just announced.
The members of Old Man Gloom all have long tenures in different metal and hardcore bands: Aaron Turner from Isis and Sumac, Nate Newton from Converge and Doomriders, Santos Montana from Zozobra. In 2018 bassist Caleb Scofield died in a car accident at the age of 39. Stephen Brodsky, Scofield’s former bandmate in Cave In, has taken over as Old Man Gloom’s new bassist. And just like Seminar VIII: Light Of Meaning, the just-released new album Seminar IX: Darkness Of Being features production from an all-star trio of heavy-music greats: Kurt Ballou, Matt Bayles, and Randall Dunn.
In a statement, Old Man Gloom say that they’ve decided to “reverse Gloom you all” in response to the current crisis: “Instead of playing a trick on everyone, we’re going to play a trick on ourselves, and unfortunately for Profound Lore, our record label.” They had different ideas for how to release the two new albums, but rather than pulling any of them, they’re just throwing the second one out into the world right now. On first listen, Darkness Of Being is pretty awesome — a collection of supremely heavy doom, ominous experimental zone-outs, brief hardcore rants, and gothic blues-folk. You can stream the whole album and read the band’s statement below.
Here’s the message from the band, as posted on the Profound Lore website:
As we’re all locked down, and uncertain about what will shake out of all this bonkers shit, we at Old Man Gloom have decided to reverse Gloom you all. What is a reverse Gloom? Well, it’s pretty simple. Instead of playing a trick on everyone, we’re going to play a trick on ourselves, and unfortunately for Profound Lore, our record label.
Here’s what was GOING to happen….We made two records. I know, it’s not a surprise, we usually do. Over the course of recording, we had so many plans with how to release it. There was the -let everyone preorder one record, then send them the other one without notice and release the other in stores only. There was – releasing one, then dropping the other 2 days later without any announcement at all. There was the idea that Aaron and I would make an entirely different record without the other guys knowing and releasing that on the same day to fool our own band. Eventually we settled on doing all the announcements for Seminar VIII: Light Of Meaning, and then a week before its release, drop Seminar IX: Darkness Of Being without announcement. A sort of PRE Glooming, if you will. It would’ve been a pleasant surprise for everyone in the lead up to the LoM release, and we get our trick.
Well, since a few weeks ago when we made this plan, the world has drastically changed. We’re all confined to our cities, towns, and mostly our homes right now. Most of us can’t make a living, all of us in Gloom included, and we’re all just sitting and waiting for the tides to turn. Last week we spoke together and wondered if we could just send Darkness Of Being out into the world now, to help bring a little light into this situational seclusion. All of us knew one sticking point could be Profound Lore, because our dear friend Chris is running a label, and not everyone exists like Old Man Gloom, most people have a plan and want to succeed on practical terms. We don’t. We just want to make each other laugh. It should have been very unsurprising that Chris was instantaneously IN for this plan. He’s never said NO to us, he’s been nothing but supportive of our bullshit from day one.
So here it is, truly our gift to you, and the whole world. Please enjoy what we’ve had an amazing time making. These records have taken the simple act of being a band and transcended into a bonding and healing process I never thought music or specifically Old Man Gloom could be. Almost every song has elements of our last two years without Caleb, and even the songs that aren’t directly related to him are embedded with the emotion and struggle for closure and healing that we’re all going to be in for a long time. This pandemic we’re all living through is creating so much distance between all of us. This is our way of bringing us all a little closer.
Please share, and listen, and talk, and respond. Tell us you love it, tell us you think it sucks, tell your friends that you like our old shit more, or that you wish it was an Old Man’s Child record. We don’t care, just put yourselves into the world through this.
We also ask that you preorder physical copies, or pay for digital in some way, if you can. Not for us, but for Profound Lore, who are always onboard to go against record label practicality to support our silliness, and whom we want to not lose money because of this baloney we cooked up.
“Time to shake our world, prepare to live”
– Steve Brodsky “Final Defeat” – from “Light of Meaning”
Santos, Steve, Aaron and Nate
Please read our full statement about what the fuck is happening on platforms that let me be wordier, But in short, we love you, and we’re giving you a record today because the fucking world is a drag right now. We hope it helps.
Old Man Gloom
— OldManGloom (@oldmangloomband) March 23, 2020