(UPDATE: It's been brought to my attention that I've reviewed an 8 track assortment provided to press. The Ape of God will be comprised of 2 seperate records that equate to 90 minutes of material. More may be added in the future.)

(UPDATE #2: It's been revealed by those pranksters in Old Man Gloom that the assumed copy of the album for which I've written a review below is actually a condensed representation of what will be TWO new albums, both under the alias of The Ape Of God. Given that information, I stand by the words written below, and intend on rewriting a fully comprehensive review of the overall work, once both records get a couple spins on my turntable, cranked out of my tower speakers at full volume. GLOOM ON)

Back in 2012, Old Man Gloom awoke from their 8 year slumber and unleashed NO upon the metal scene, with little to no warning might I add. The band picked up where they left off with 2004's Christmas, further expanding on their bass heavy sludge assault that is broken up with an array of instrumental noise that can be beautifully ambient or unbearably chaotic. I was perfectly content with the musical offerings of NO, and wasn't anticipating new material for another 3-4 years at least, if any. However, OMG has returned from production partner in crime Kurt Ballou's GodCity Studios with The Ape Of God.

Opening track, "Fist Of Fury" is an attention grabbing array of frenetic noise that is sprinkled with uptempo drumming, courtesy of drummer Santos Montano. Guitarist/Vocalist Aaron Turner (ISIS) emits his trademark earthy screams throughout the 2 minutes and change. The ending noise transitions into "The Lash", which is a more straightforward metal track that gives new listeners a great representation of the heavy side of OMG. As with all previous albums, the sequencing from track to track is seamless, all songs blending together to sound like a single track. The interludes are used with purpose and add context to each song, rather than being thrown into the middle of the album to breakup monotony.

"Predators" is an overall representation of what OMG is capable of, transitioning from heavy sludge riffs and the duel vocal attack of Aaron Turner and bassist Caleb Scofield (Cave In), to ominous and ambient instrumentals that occasionally crescendo to over distorted and blown out guitar passages. While the instrumental and noise interludes have always been a component in Old Man Gloom's sound, the band really seems to have pushed themselves and allowed those aforementioned interludes to become a more dominant part of the album. The 9 minute journey that is "Shoulder Meat" begins with a low end heavy noise buildup that erupts into a slower tempo sludge section that Turner colors with gravelly yet melodic singing and intense guttural screams.

Guitarist Nate Newton of Converge and Doomriders fame rounds out the mid heavy guitar attack. Both Newton and Turner's guitar tones work in the grand scheme of the band's sound, really focusing on saturated midrange. This really helps contrast the clean passages and makes them "pop". The closing 14 minute epic, "Aarows To Our Hearts" twists and turns from ethereal synths and haunting clean vocals to a massive percussive buildup with angular guitars and grinding bass. And just as you think you're about to be barraged by one last sludgy doom riff, the band retreats into its wall of feedback and noise.

The way we digest music today, we will typically pick and choose certain songs on an album and repeat them relentlessly, myself included. However, this album and their predecessors are best experienced front to back in one sitting. Seeing Old Man Gloom for the first time in 2012 at the First Unitarian Church in Philly was an experience I'll never forget. The live interpretations of their back catalog and new material was a different beast compared to the studio versions, fingers crossed they do some more shows soon. You can preorder the Vinyl edition of The Ape Of God this Friday via SIGE, and CD/Digital via Profound Lore. The Ape Of God is released November 10.