Old Man Gloom – Seminar IX: Darkness of Being

3 out of 5

Label: Profound Lore

Produced by: Matt Bayles, Kurt Ballou, Stephen Brodsky (recorded by)

Getting down to business in a way that Seminar VIII did not, this sister album – Darkness of Being – nonetheless suffers from a similar disenchantment as that disc, as its most pummeling moments break off into unengaging ambience that doesn’t seem to sync up with the songs; as a reaction to the passing of Caleb Scofield, you can feel the struggle to put that to music, and the broken nature of these records is an expression of that. Which I of course want to respect, but it doesn’t necessarily make for a great disc at length, only great in spurts.

…These are fast-moving at first, though: opener Procession of the Wounded feels kind of like old school OMG, as it hammers on a drone-like beat before breaking into vocals, but it drops out short without developing on this. The same goes for both Heel to Toe and The Bleeding Sun: while these are rather more typical hardcore shouters, they’re solid… while they’re in motion; both start and stop in hiccup-y fashion.

Centerpiece Canto De Santos again brings back some OMG heft, scraping its way through some stray instrument tuning and drumming before it just starts to get violent for its remaining 6 or so minutes. This is a “full” song in comparison to the others; it also kind of starts the album over, though, not flowing from the previous tracks.

From here on out, things are up and down: lyrics become more confessional, and we get a Brodsky-sung muted offering in Death Rhymes, before closing up with the loud – if, again, kinda of standard – Love is Bravery.

The unfortunate background that prompted the emotions on this disc do help to frame it and give sense to its scattered nature, and there are very worthwhile moments throughout. However, it’s unfortunately not a very seamless listen, making getting to those moments more difficult than it should be.