Old Man Gloom Christmas

Damn right it’s Christmas, with the return (finally!) of the Simian Alien Defense League (featuring members of Isis, Cave In and Converge, among others), better known as Old Man Gloom. Super-groups have a tendency to fall flat (thanks a lot, Temple of the Dog) but Old Man Gloom never disappoint and, in some cases, is better than their members’ recent output (the last Cave In record wasn’t awesome in retrospect, no wonder they got dropped). After delivering a one-song, 30-minute climatic movement with their last full-length, Seminar III, OMG has returned to the formula of Seminar II and Meditations In B: short, destructive sonic expulsions interspaced with ambient noise experiments. Musically, while the noise experiments can become soothing filler, the short, sharp, hostile "songs” are still what OMG do best. Combining sludge with stoner rock and malicious metallic outbursts, quality wins over quantity and the ambient atmospheric tracks allow one to catch a breath before the next sonic wallop. The influence of OMG’s other members (particularly Converge’s Nate Newton) can also be heard more and more in the tracks that don’t sound like whales humping. Standouts include "Sleeping With Snakes,” "Skullstorm” and "Girth and Greed.” See, give monkeys music instruments and eventually they will release an album. (Tortuga)