Ya know, even though both Inter Arma and Old Man Gloom get stuck with the 'sludge' label, I never would've thought of them in the same context. That's just one of the many things that the Arsies have to teach us all.
We start the day with Inter Arma, who won the coin toss with The Cavern, a single-track EP that is still longer than OMG's full-length album. Inter Arma have in their short career already built up an impressive reputation for subtle yet patient lamentation, and their latest effort does not disappoint. It's a 45-minute dirge-ride off a tall cliff that you can't avoid or escape, anchored with a few choice motifs that recur with an ever-slowingly finality. And despite the length of the track, The Cavern does have an internal structure and pacing that avoids premature listener fatigue. The only major problem I have with this EP occured to me during the second listen: the main riff features a hook that bears more than a passing resemblance to the theme song from The Munsters. So, that's a problem.
And then there's Old Man Gloom, who had the possibly-ill-advised audacity to put out two separate albums this year (three, if you count the third album they leaked purely as a stunt). Unlike Inter Arma, OMG isn't exactly known for restraint. And yet that's exactly what you're treated to with the beginning of the first edition of The Ape Of God. For the first half of The Ape Of God I, OMG show just a smidge of moderation... and tracks like Eden's Gates prove how effective the band can be when they dial back the excess just a bit. The problem, of course, is that restraint just ain't in OMG's DNA, not really. Well, that, and for some self-imposed reason, this is a band who clearly have 150 minutes to fill. And so, after a revelatory half-album, Old Man Gloom succumb to their lesser demons, and are so enamored with their own noisesmithing that they never see Inter Arma eating their lunch, Munsters riffage or not.
Later today: Darkest Hour vs Distorted Harmony. 1-2-3-4-go!