Thursday 19 April 2018

Hundred Year Old Man - Breaching

Labels: Gizeh Records/Wolves & Vibrancy Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 27 Apr 2018


1. Breaching
2. Black Fire
3. The Forest
4. Clearing The Salients
5. Long Wall
6. Disconnect
7. Cease
8. Ascension

It's been little over three months since the bewildering EP "Rei" was released by Hundred Year Old Man, but in just over a week's time they'll have unleashed their debut full-length "Breaching". It's due to be released on vinyl, cd and digital formats via Gizeh Records and Wolves & Vibrancy Records, whom both released that earlier EP. To celebrate the release HYOM are hosting a listening party on April 27 at SingleShot Vinyl Records & Coffeehouse (in Leeds) that will be followed on May 5 by a release show at Temple Of Boom (also in Leeds) with a host of bands joining them. I'll post links to both events below this review.

If “Rei” was anything to go by then this latest effort will be just as sprawling and epic. The opening title-track begins with rumbling low-key noise and distant screams, punctuated by subtle ambient melodies. As the song flows the screams and the ambience get closer, almost like they’re trying to make you sit up and prepare yourself. It’s only when Black Fire jolts into life that HYOM’s post-metal sound becomes clear. Slow complex layers of sound that mix sludge/doom with noise make for something loud and harrowing, while the vocals echo as if they were recorded in the mightiest of caverns. They’re definitely a better  at generation atmosphere than most bands, even when recorded. The choice to allow songs to follow one another without needless pauses is a good one, as Black Fire flows into The Forest. The continuation is perfect. The Forest has more urgency than its predecessor, while retaining plenty of droning/hypnotic power. 

As they did on “Rei” HYOM place short instrumental pieces on this record to add variance and a bit of respite from their heavier moments. They let the guitar work take over on Clearing The Salients and weave some amazing sounds with it. The lengthy build-up on Long Wall breeds a lot of tension and expectation. The orchestral touches and harsh vocals do nothing to ward off those feelings as HYOM hit a heavier seam. Sitting as I am in a room with the light gradually fading, the images that this song is creating are both vivid and affirming. Disconnect is a very aptly titled number because by the time you reach this point on “Breaching”, you’re already disconnected with the reality around you and venturing into different ethers. 

Cease is another ambient piece that uses feedback and samples to change the mood to haunting for a few moments. Lengthy album closer Ascension offers you one last glimpse of avant-garde/experimental hedonism, though it’s a glimpse that lasts over ten-minutes. Offering droning instrumentation, volume shifts and cinematic grandeur in both the vocal and melody departments, it has all the ingredients to make a truly unforgettable statement on an album that’s been crafted with such care and detail already. Heavy music in the year of 2018 is surpassing expectations and with the way that we consume music changing from digital platforms in favour of physical mediums again (albeit slowly), this record should benefit. Hundred Year Old Man has done it again and end-of-year-lists beckon. 

You can stream both Long Wall and Disconnect below:-

Pre-orders are available from the links below:-

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