Santa Fe’s Old Man Gloom continue their rebirth with “The Ape Of God”, their sixth studio album, which apparently comes as a three-part release, one of them being a fake online release. The version I had for the purpose of this review is the eight-track (PFL145), which has been released in partnership with a more experimental four-track release (PFL145.5).
Beckoned in by the opener, ‘Fist Of Fury’, which centres around a single, ever-present tone which is surrounded by all manner of chaotic noise which swirls around Aaron Turner‘s vocals, setting a punishing starting point for the album and giving it any number of directions it can go in. Up next is ‘The Lash’, which is a more straightforward offering before the crushing, slow, Will Haven-esque doom of ‘Predators’. ‘Shoulder Meat’ is where the album really opens up; a slow, menacing intro opens up into a slow, heavy sludge before briefly becoming more uptempo around halfway through its nine-and-a-half-minute life, but it soon degrades back into another blizzard of noise.
Following the short instrumental ‘Simai Dei’ comes the short, furious hardcore blast of ‘Never Enter’, two tracks which show the diversity of the album and couldn’t sound more different to each other. Where the album really pushes it, though, is through the epic 14-minute closing track ‘Arrows To Our Hearts’. A largely instrumental track which, amongst some of the more familiar noises, features the albums most serene and ambient moments. A simple riff and some lean vocals show a completely different side to the band than the chaos that has dominated the album previously, although that does come back towards the end of the track, just to make sure you don’t relax too much.
This is a really challenging album right front the start and one which constantly shifts pace and intent at every turn. With each one of the tracks you literally have no idea what is likely to be coming next. From doom to ambient to electronic noise through to good old fashioned hardcore, there is something here to grab the attention of any fan of extreme music, and as such it really doesn’t sound like anything else out there at the moment. It may sound a little disjointed at times but that is part of the unsettling vibe that permeates the record from the very first second to the very last.