Manchester’s Gizeh Records is not afraid of mixing up their catalog. From the sublime Chantal Acda through to A-Sun Amissa and Nadja, their catalog, to use their quote is that of “the noise of harmony and the harmony of noise“. Their latest signing Hundred Year Old Man is quite possibly their heaviest yet.
Hundred Year Old Man is a six-piece collective based in Leeds, UK, that focuses on the parameters of post-metal, doom and heavy music. Formed in 2015, the band have spent the past year touring and playing shows with the likes of Deafheaven, Ohhms, Moloken, Employed To Serve, Conjurer, Fen, Opium Lord, Canvas and Wren. Terrorizer magazine has stated about the band that “Despite only forming in 2015, Hundred Year Old Man’s deep, heavy sound already sounds remarkably well-realised and immersive, as the ten minute video for ‘Black Fire’ ably demonstrates.”
“Black Fire” is the title track of a 3 track CD that is released on August 25 . Housed in a double-panel, hand-screen-printed card sleeve with a card insert designed by in-house team SmilingPaperGhosts. The other two tracks are “Welcome to the Machine ” and “Disconnect (Demo)”. The band features Owen Pegg who has already appeared on the label under the moniker Æmaeth and as part of A-Sun Amissa.
“Black Fire” fuses Doom and Post Metal with an experimental edge with the use of Keys/Samples that remind me of “Vae Solis” era Scorn. There are trade mark Doom sounds with the slow down tuned guitars and screamo styled deep vocals, but mixed up with the more melodic, but still heavy , post metal guitar sounds and prog – like progressions.
Feedback with distortion and crushing beats open the track with alternating guitar riffs that join together once the vocals start. The vocals are largely indecipherable (although I am picking up an anti-war vibe) and are kept level in the mix just above the guitars. The first break in the track occurs around the first minute and a half with the vocals, bass and drums drop out to give space to the guitars which have a more post rock tone and are accompanied with organ sounds before the downtuned guitars, vocals and drums return in the style of the intro. Vocals (possibly by guitarist/vocalist Pegg) or samples (probably the latter) enter the mix and the music veers from chugging guitar riffs to post metal sections. The way the guitars veer between the traditional doom sounds to the post metal gives texture and colour to the track and flows smoothly not clunky.
A second breakdown section starts just before the six-minute mark and features samples of an elderly man talking about his memories followed by a repeated section of vocals with the phrase “Can’t Follow Me”, before the guitars start sweeping bringing about another musically thematic change, which changes several times again as the track builds up in its intensity to its climatic distortion fade out.
There is a lot of variation in the ten and a half minutes of the track, with twists and turns that, just when you’ve thought you know where it is heading, it has changed. This gives the listener something much more interesting than a stock standard track. Next year will see the release of a 12″ ep also on Gizeh.
“Black Fire” can be ordered here.