Originally formed in New Mexico by guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (Isis) and drummer Santos Montano, the Massachusetts-based group Old Man Gloom has since expanded into a sort of supergroup among the Boston hardcore/metalcore scene. By the time of their first album, Meditations in B, the lineup had expanded to include Converge bassist Nate Newton (guitar, vocals) and Cave-Ins' Caleb Scofield (bass, vocals). More of a recording project than an actual band -- they rarely play live, partly due to scheduling conflicts -- Old Man Gloom play a mix of heavy hardcore/metalcore songs and quieter electronic/ambient drones, at times juxtaposing these two elements, while at others blending them together in the same space. Their lyrics and packaging make repeated references to primates -- apes, chimpanzees, etc. -- and also to science, research, and (de-)evolution (among their song titles are "An Evening at the Gentleman's Club for Apes" and "Test Result: Alien Ape Distress Signal"); the band also sometimes refers to itself as "the OMG Institute." These references tend to be pretty cryptic, and if anything, seem to reveal that there is a sense of humor behind the group's intense, doom-laden sound exterior.
Meditations in B came out in 2000 on Turner's Tortuga Records imprint, a subsidiary of the larger Hydrahead label, which he also runs. It was followed a year later by two simultaneously released CDs, Seminar II and Seminar III. A fifth member, Luke Scarola (electronics), came on board for the latter two records, and Seminar II also featured contributions from fellow Boston locals Steve Brodsky of Cave-Ins, who wrote lyrics for one song, and Agnostronic Blunt (aka Jay Randall of the grindcore band Agoraphobic Nosebleed) on electronics, further expanding the all-star cast. More rapid-fire releases followed, with the EP Christmas Eve 1 + 2 arriving in 2003, followed by the full-length, Christmas, in 2004. Their output slowed after that, and it would be eight years before the band emerged with a new album, unleashing their Kurt Ballou produced fifth album, No, in 2012.~ William York