[Reviewed by stark]
Sometimes after all these long ambient wanderings in a half-dream state, a blast like this is like a catharsis. A live recording of an Old Man Gloom gig in London. It’s a project of guys from bands such as ISIS/Mamiffer, Converge and Cave In, and they sound on stage as if they would like to puke out all the rage and anger accumulated in their bodies.
The gig took place in London, April 2014. 18 tracks in less than in hour. Many of these are flick outbursts of violence lasting below two minutes, but if you’re not familiar with the name, know that it isn’t grindcore. As a matter of fact it’s quite a versatile enterprise, which is quite close to sludge, but the guys aren’t afraid to wander around different styles of music. Hardcore, death, doom & black metal, even some electronic experiments. One intro refers to a Hindi ritual music (?), one to some sort of twisted reggae (??) All that makes the album rather diverse, not allowing the listener even a moment of boredom. You feel the energy even while sitting in your armchair at home, having only the vinyl or CD recording of that performance. The live event itself must’ve been quite spectacular with all these vibes transfered on the audience as well.
They made a kind of “best of” show performing the songs from all their studio albums starting with “Meditations in B”. As far as I can tell the only album they didn’t play something from was their latest one, “The Ape Of God”. It’s not that important. “Mickey Rookey Live At London” was later the subject of studio treatment (mastering by James Plotkin), but it didn’t lose anything from its primal live energy and madness.
Their teamwork is really good, being aware of the fact that they barely put their regular albums together. There are some mistakes, obviously, they even laugh at one of them in a press release, but in my opinion a live performance without lapses is no live performance. I want so see people on stage, with all their sweat, drops of saliva in the air, forgetting their lines or their notes. I want to see people, not machines. If there’s a link of understanding and communication between musicians and audience (and there always is if the band is playing with honesty and commitment), I don’t actually give a fuck about the mistakes. Often I don’t even notice them.
It must’ve been a good and intense show; I wish I was there. Maybe one day they’ll come to Poland. Maybe there will be such an opportunity in the future. Meanwhile I have this surrogate. But a very nice surrogate.