Old Man's Child
Slaves of the World

Gotta give it up for Galder – the guy is consistent. From 1999’s Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion through 2006’s Vermin, he’s basically been making improvements on an already addictive melodic black metal formula: monstrous, sinister riffs, spooky-key grandeur, thundering, syncopated drumming and that cavernous, blackened snarl. (I love the first two albums too but stylistically, they’re a bit different than the others). So it shouldn’t really be surprising that Slaves of the World fits in neatly with its brothers, although there have been some noticeable tweaks.

First off, the production, once again courtesy of Fredrik Nordstrom – it’s dirtier and murkier. Everything still carries the full weight of an orc’s blood-clotted warhammer smashing into a halfling’s skull, but it just sounds nastier than ever before. This is even more noticeable in the vocals, which are rawer and more brutish. Some tracks, like “Saviours of Doom,” even layer different vocal treatments for a deranged, savage effect. Slaves is probably my favorite Old Man’s Child vocal performance to date.

And then there’s the keys. The keys have always kinda been Galder’s thorn – yeah, that haunted-house bombast has always been a part of Old Man Child’s sound, and of the theatrical melodic black metal shtick on a larger scale. Still, you can’t argue that there’s always been a bit of oooh-we-are-scary cheese involved too – especially when synths are used instead of organs or actual symphonies. Well, there aren’t any symphony orchestras here, but Galder has wisely toned down the keys in favor of a more subtle, chilling effect. There are still plenty of whirlwind neoclassical piano flourishes throughout Slaves of the World, but it just feels classier here.

So those are the changes, nothing too dramatic but overall a nice step forward for an outfit that’s already been turning out one solid release after another. I also have to call out the drumming on this, usually a revolving slot. This time it’s filled by Peter Wildoer from Darkane and Pestilence, and it’s a monster of a performance. Galder certainly gives the guy plenty to do – especially considering how busy and varied each of the album’s nine tracks are.

Galder is plenty busy himself – there are so many sick, venomous riffs and ideas packed into these songs, it’s a wonder he can memorize it all (maybe that’s why this has always been a studio band). In a way, it can sometimes be a detriment – many of these songs feel choppier and pieced-together than Dimmu Borgir, for instance, and are not always built around a discernable theme or refrain. Still, they manage to flow nicely from one idea to another and are never jarring. It can make tracks like “Ferden Mot Fiendens Land” a little tougher to learn, since it’s essentially seven or eight distinct sections connected together, with little or no repetition. On the other hand, a track like “Unholy Foreign Crusade,” (the song titles and lyrics, as always, are the least inspired thing about this band), shows a terrific grasp of flow and pace. From an all-out thrash gallop to churning black metal maelstrom to the siren-song solos at the ending, every bit slams into that crunchy double-bass pleasure center in your metal-loving reptilian brain. And so it goes with the whole album.

So should you buy Slaves of the World? If you’re an Old Man’s Child fan, yes. It won’t blow you away in terms of being something revolutionary or different, but it’s another badass addition to the discography and I am enjoying it a lot. If you’ve not heard this band, this is a terrific place to start. I can’t see anyone except the troo and kvlt not enjoying this – it’s quality stuff.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
May 26th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    zzzzzzzz- when the best song is a redo from the killer debut- theres a problem


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    i didn’t get the bonus track, crap, probably should have mentioned that. oh wells.


  3. Commented by: Red

    Spot on review!!! I was hesitant about picking this one up, I liked In Defiance… but Vermin just didn’t seem to pull me in. Glad I did though, this one seems to have more heft and honestly I seem to enjoy OMC a bit more than Dimmu…


  4. Commented by: Chris S

    OMC has always smoked Dimmu Borgir. Having better promo and a bigger press kit doesn’t mean that you are a better band. Galder has always been able to write better on his own and all the OMC albums clearly point that out.


  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

    ehhh I don’t know about that. like I said these songs are choppier – there are plenty of awesome pieces, but in terms of being complete and differentiated experiences, they tend to run together. I can clearly conjure up the difference between Progenies, Absolute Sole Right, Mourning Palace or Vrebesbyrd in my mind, but it’s pretty hard to do that with most of OMC’s recent catalog. I still enjoy it but I think DB craft clearer compositions overall.


  6. Commented by: Ryan

    I agree with the above statement about the songs. Dimmu writes really good songs, Old Man’s Child has a lot of great riffs/parts. But I think that’s part of the hampering experience of writing alone. It’s a lot easier to craft a “song” when working with a group. I enjoy this album as there are a lot of cool parts, but as lame as Dimmu can be, they win in the song department. This is still a solid album though and I’ve been listening to it since I bought it a couple days ago.


  7. Commented by: axiom

    I guess this deserves another listen, I thought it was pretty dull.


  8. Commented by: ceno

    I liked it from the very first shot. Spectacular as usual. So is the reviewer’s work, of course. :lol:


  9. Commented by: Dimaension X

    It’s much “thrashier” than I thought it would be. I think I do like Galder better without Dimmu. I think Dimmu’s songs all sound the same now.


  10. Commented by: Desperado

    I wanted to like this one but its stylistically a bit different than the previous several.I like the older album’s pretty moments,which share nice similarities with early DB with my fav of theirs being PEM.The production really makes this album come off as deathy,also kind of a putof for me,and I’m a deathhead to the max.Hopefully it’ll click.


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