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With nearly seven years of inactivity under his belt, Galder's Old Man's Child project appears to be either on hold or put to rest. Not quite sure what these guys have been up to lately, including Dimmu Borgir. I was secretly hoping for Galder to return to the project that earned him the most positive repute, especially since Slaves of the World dominates the melodic black/death palate the band has been purporting since Revelation 666: The Curse of Damnation. And if you are familiar with that album and any others after it, this record will feel very comfortable, if even more impressive due to the polished sheen of the production values, providing invigorating contrast with the inky blackness of the music itself. Vermin felt somewhat half-baked, so it was nice to see the project return to the focused urgency of near-classics like In Defiance of Existence.
Despite the high accretion of dissonance, Old Man's Child feels like they straddle the line between death and black metal more than residing solely in the latter's murky confines. Riffs are razor-sharp and feature piston-like pummeling gusto that feels more muscular, brawny and formidable than if the band merely drew from black metal's inky pool. In fact, the verisimilitude of the songwriting really sells Slaves of the World to me; Galder is clearly just rolling with whatever he feels like, all without coming off as needlessly eclectic and/or unfocused. Riffs thrash, drop like a ten-ton hammer and cast their daemon magicks all with equal affinity. The band's trademark snappy chord progressions are littered all over this thing, along with a fair bit of chunky mid-paced death metal barbarity. It really does feel like a potpourri of styles, all with one foot firmly planted in the melodic black metal side of things. While keyboards are prevalent, they are tastefully used, and in a serpentine manner inveigle the listener with brooding note progressions while the riffs draw blood in a more, erm... straightforward manner.
The formula is at its core the same one the band had been using for over a decade, but this album seems like it has an x factor that Vermin sorely lacked. This might be due to the inclusion of guest drummer Peter Wildoer, who lacks the raw speed of his forebears, perhaps forcing the band to rely on raw heaviness as opposed to grinding the listener to dust via goosing it constantly. Most of these songs are energetic and refined enough to mitigate a lack of identity between them. This has always been a problem with later No Man's Child material, and it continues here in form, but thankfully not function. "The Spawn of Lost Creation" is a real fret snapper, clanging and banging amidst a backdrop of obtuse, droning leads and busy drumming. The title track is another highlight, exhibiting clear and destructive tendencies and proving that this project continues to be where Galder hoards the best of his riffs.
Slaves of the World isn't exactly underground, but this shouldn't turn off even those intent on maintaining their kvlt credibility. This is a particular rarity of a band wherein all shades of listener can appreciate it to some extent. One can't deny Galder's skill as a multi-instrumentalist, and listening to the layered attack exhibited within makes it easy to forget this is a one-man project. I am particularly impressed with his vocals, which are sepulchral ravings culled straight from the bifurcation between realms. The band never lets their lethality abate, even when the symphonic embellishments take centre stage. If this proves to be the end for Old Man's Child, I can live with Slaves of the World being their de facto tombstone, but that would still suck because I believe Galder has more quality material in him.
Another solid release via Galder changing things up a little bit vocal-wise, but still writing killer guitar riffs! Not only is he on rhythm/lead guitar/vocals, he's also on keyboards, enhancing the axe-work with occasional background keys to create a darker sense of reality that he's interjecting on this one and a helluv an amazing melodic black metal release. Totally original (as always) musically/vocal wise, Galder puts together creations divine and ultimately serving towards the darkest pits of hell. Definitely he's met with the gargoyles of doom in inflicting the metal community with sheer blasphemy.
At first hearing of this album, I wasn't as impressed with it as much as I would say "Revelation 666 - The Curse of Damnation". That one is still my favorite, but putting headphones on and listening to this one only lagged in the snare drum department. What to expect to hear when you listen to this one is eternal darkness triumphant and it prevails on every track. The guitars/vocals are the highlights, not the disappointment of the "popping" snare drum. But forget about that disappointment and revel in this one as you may have done on previous Old Man's Child releases. A band should ideally progress as this one has, not regress like so many bands have over the years just to sell records compromising their style and creativity or even disbanding their roots sending them into oblivion forever (e.g. In Flames, Children of Bodom, Metallica, et al).
The music as I described is totally original featuring riffs that are tremolo picked like hell featuring a lot of intensity! It mixes quite superbly with the vocals not to mention the bar chords working with the choruses and main singing. Galder's also improved in his lead guitar playing on this one. Compare that to the ultimate release "The Pagan Prosperity" where the riffs were original like this one, but the guitar executions were far more primitive and lead work that I'm sorry to say, "sucked". This guy has improved so much musically and lyrically it's amazing. He just continues to progress. Good to know that the band is still active but it's strange that his efforts for some reason on Dimmu Borgir's latest were just the pits!
Again, what you will find here (defining my past guitar playing which I am no longer pursuing) is that Galder's creations of music riff-wise is ultimately advanced because what is heard in the guitars are straightforward bar chords with some backups of tremolo picked riffs alongside the chords in sequential order lasting only briefly combined with keys so you have a whole amazing aura of music that's so amazingly constructed it just baffles me. This certainly is beyond my comprehension where a guy can make this genre work not just with mindless total blast beating (referring much to Naglfar's "Pariah" release), the tempos vary featuring slow guitar mixed up with faster guitar work, but it's all molded out with each track featuring a variety to the music.
The production is superb and was recorded at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden, where countless amazing bands like this one record their music. Everything is well heard and amazing that there are only a few members on this album, but it just works. Galder is one great musician and even though in his personal life like many musicians drown themselves in alcohol. Not a surprise that a lot of metal greats die so young. But just as long as what we're keeping relevant here without getting to far into metal history, "Slaves of the World" is just such an outstanding and amazingly wonderful melodic black metal album. You get everything on this one: guitars, vocals, keyboards and drums that simply dominate (except for that snare drum as I already pointed out).
If you read the lyrics you'll see that they aren't just rancid concoctions of no brain type of mentality, they're evil, but it fits with the album, images featured on the cover of the album and on the insert. I don't think that metal people put enough time into writing comprehensive and intelligent lyrics that is with exceptions. But I do say that Galder wrote some fine lines on this one incorporating music as I described and being divine and well thought out riff-wise and lyrically combined. The only thing about the release that really annoyed me was the sound of the snare drum (rehash me saying the "disappointment") of the album. That sound is "popping", but the rest of the kit fits alongside well with the music.
If you like melodic stuff that's dark, depressing, evil, sorrow-ridden, blasphemous, ill inspired, deep hated view of existence that "Slaves of the World" encompasses, this release contains all of these traits. Of course I will again point out how originally sounding this epic saga reigns, I cannot stress that enough. Nothing dull here, no tracks that are boring. Every damn song reigns and the atmosphere such an amazingly created sound that stifles the mind and doesn't lose the listener's attention or direction. A pure domination of metal that's going to stand out in your collection if it hasn't already. If you own it and disagree with my words here regarding this album, then create your own hypocrisy if you're into melodic black metal. I won't do it because to me, everyone that's a fan of this genre should own this!
This Galder fella is a strange li’l Nordic chap. During the heyday of the church burning reign, his Old Man’s Child group appeared as the attractive wallflower of the black metal senior prom; competent, heavy, and dark, but, at first, sadly not having enough clout or moxie to poke their nose through the thickened group of rock stars and third-tier nobodies (though signing with Century Media seemed to help a lot in remedying it). During the years to come, Galdy-boy showed that he was quite adept at creating memorable riffs and songs with each successive Child album…but, in a strange, ironic twist, his exciting new day job in Dimmu Borgir caused him to, through no fault of his own I’m certain, be part of the truncation that gutted the Metallica of black metal into mediocrity. Yet, he’s always able to keep his A material for his main bread and butter, which seems to impress time and again rather than the increasingly anemic BORGIR.
So with that in mind, was he able to hit the nail on the head again with his latest offering?
What also helps Old Man’s Child that much more versus Galder’s main act is that it actually ages quite well with each release. There’s a definite feel of maturity and overall growth in the way he crafts his riffs and arrangements in his chronological timeline, and this time around, his latest seems to continue the upward evolutionary trend, embracing an equal part of the symphonic rage of “In Defiance of Existence” and the brandy-glass-handed darkness of “Vermin” but still venturing into a dimension all its own. In this day and age it’s quite hard to keep black metal as memorable and chill-inducing as it at one time was, especially when dealing with newer acts that have the desire to keep the flame burning but not possessing enough skill to do so, but it seems “Slave to the World” is able to reach that height just on atmosphere alone. There’s a sensation of loss and brutality through simplicity versus bashing your eardrums throughout the disc, and what sticks out first and foremost on this is the monstrous influx of guitar riffs with much less keyboard lines to behold…which isn’t a bad thing, really. The overall feel of the riffs, for the most part, seems to move away from a lot of the standard black metal trappings and instead takes on a heavier, palm-muted thrash metal element that helps make everything seems that much heavier and easier to digest. However, it all comes together the best, and most spine-tingling, when coupled Galder’s already inhuman-sounding growls and some of the spookiest keyboard lines I’ve heard come from the Child yet. Guess there’s still some life in the ol’ genre’s corpse yet, and this is some pretty vivid evidence to that, what with the bitter heaviness, creepy melodies, and plenty of twists and turns along the way. However, I must say the “St. Anger”-like snare drums and cardboard-sounding kit leave quite the bitter taste in the mouth, not really fitting well with the rest of the far clearer instrumentation, but in the end that’s pretty much the only major complaint on this multi-track fist in the face, with the likes of “Saviours of Doom”, “Path of Destruction” and “Servants of Satan’s Monastery” serving up plentiful helpings of demonic rage and archangelic harmonies that will keep one coming back for more.
In the end, Old Man’s Child continues to astonish where Dimmu pratfalls. Its originality and flesh-rendingness makes for a fantastic ride, and I anticipate many extra listens from here on out. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Dimmu Borgir guitarist Galder has had a one man side project for quite a while called Old Man’s Child. Many don’t even attempt a listen due to what is perceived as an identical sound to his main black metal group’s sound. This is an unfair assessment really, yes the band's sounds are similar but really Old Man’s Child are able to expand upon musical elements that Dimmu Borgir only touch on during some albums. Also if Dimmu’s last few albums have been a bit too easy listening for you, Slaves of the World will be right up your alley. The album is a great mixture of melodic black metal, a little bit of industrial, and even some solid death thrown in for good measure.
Unlike many melodic black metal bands these days, Old Man’s Child has always been great about not overemphasizing the keyboards. The last few albums could be debated, but one thing is for sure the keyboards are expertly placed in the newest release. Not too much and not too little, just right. A song like “Ferden Mot Fiedens Land” features a fantastic keyboard breakdown that sounds neither cheesy nor excessive, just fucking awesome. Galder gets the guitars just right here as well; everything has a buzz saw sound that hits the listener right in the mouth, going from intense to catchy riffs that will have anyone with a brain head banging in minutes. Aside from the drums, Galder does every single piece of music you hear on the album. Impressive? Hell yeah considering some really quality songs that are borderline brilliant in some parts.
Production wise, everything is slick and sounds great. Fredrik Nordstrom really nailed this album making everything sound fantastic and not too overproduced which can trap many melodic extreme bands these days. The only thing I noticed that could have been fixed with the production would be the tinny sounding drums at times. It’s a little too noticeable and can really take the listener out of the song for a brief few moments. The layered vocals of Galder also sound better than any album previously released.
Slaves To The World is a vast improvement over previous albums and could be one of the best black metal albums of the year. At times the music can sound a bit too much like Dimmu Borgir, but really it’s a small nitpick as Galder manages to add plenty of new elements. As far as melodic black metal goes, it’s a great addition and the music manages to stay extreme at the same time. Not everyone will like it, but I sure as hell do.
Best Cuts: “Slaves of the World”, “Unholy Foreign Crusade”, "Fer Mot Fiedens Land"
Good: Production is top notch, great melodic black metal with all kinds of influences
Bad: Drum production could have been a bit better, can sound a little too Dimmu-ish at times
Galder, the man of a thousand faces (most of them resulting in side-splitting, rib-cracking laughter) has returned after a four year silence that almost left me pessimistic about Old Man's Child's future. I of course was happy when I learned he was doing other things besides being the ketchup on the Demon Burger, because when he wants to, he can write some pretty cool stuff. I enjoyed "In Defiance of Existence" and "Vermin", and was expecting something along the same lines when I picked up "Slaves of the World". I was pleasantly surprised when this wasn't quite the case, and was even more surprised at how many times this album had me playing air guitar, while headbanging, while doing 70 on a freeway.
I just have to get one thing off my chest immediately and talk about the biggest annoyance on the album. While it obviously isn't enough to to ruin the album, and doesn't pop up all that often, the music here is good enough that you just can't help but take notice. Seriously, Galder, what the fuck is with that snare drum? Not even thirty seconds into the album we are treated to this echoic, "St. Anger" (except a thousand times less worse) like, bludgeoning ping that just kind of diminishes the intensity of the music. Again, this only happens a few times and it doesn't stop me from listening to the album, but coupled with axe-handle-thick guitar tone, the sporadic and surprisingly audible bass, and the otherwise crisp drum production, it just makes you stop and think "the hell is that?".
And this is what really makes the album, the production. The sound on this album at times is huge, I mean HUGE, but in all the bombast still gives the heart pounding percussion and razors-against-your-flesh riffs plenty of room to breathe. And trust me, when the double bass is going, the strings are writhing, and Galder unleashes the awesomeness with a quick vocal cue, all bets for this being a boring album are off. What Galder has done is go for a less symphonic, more metal in your face approach. The keys are still here, but they used very sparingly, yielding fantastic results. The best example would be the conquest-like opening of "Path of Destruction", but there are times where they are used more for texture, such as on "The Crimson Meadows". Acoustic too take a back seat, and as much as I love clean strings not even their serene nature can stop this album's savagery from plowing it's way through Christendom, and probably most of the world too. This is no half hearted hail to the dark lord kids, each song is teeming morbid life that today's more flexible black metal bands should take note of.
Galder's raspy shriek also appears less often, letting a deeper (and just a bit dry) sounding roar command the bloodthirsty instruments. There's just more conviction in his voice, switching off from sounding absolutely victorious on "Unholy Foreign Crusade" to vile on "The Spawn of Lost Creation". Old Man's Child has never been a bad project, but everything about this album just surprised me. Maybe I let a bit of cynicism get to me with the rising of Dimmu Borgir's popularity, maybe it was because "Vermin" got just a tad bit underwhelming when I revisited it, but this surely is some modern black metal with balls. Don't let Galder's position in DB lead you to bias, this is most definitely a fantastic metal album with great production, songwriting, and vocals. This is already my favorite OMC album, and wouldn't be surprised if it ended up as number nine or eight on my top ten this year. Pick it up if you're an OMC fan, or if you're looking for a black metal album with more life and less tricks, either way, the old man's still got it.
But seriously, fuck that snare drum.
Galder has been on roll with his last few albums since In Defiance of Existence. Stylistically, I was expecting a continuation of the Vermin sound, which was arguably a continuation of the Defiance album's sound, and I got what I expected and then some! The production is very similar to what Vermin sounded like, which is absolutely perfect. The sound is very clean and every instrument, less so bass, is heard very clearly. I will admit that the bass is more noticeable on this album than what Vermin's production allowed, which is a plus. Bass needs to come out from the backseat every now and then and peek it's head out to provide a more effective and pummeling listening experience for us!
On to the material, Galder once again does not overdo the length of the album or the track lengths, which is much appreciated on my part because albums of this style don't need to be 60+ minutes long, nor should they be Deicide - Legion length. Galder found a perfect medium at 46:54 and it leaves the listener satisfied yet wanting more. As previously stated, the style of the tracks falls along the prior 2 album's sound, which is good news for this metalhead.
Peter Wildoer offers some fantastic drumming throughout the album and provides some very headbang-able rhythms along with Galder's guitar tracks for some crushing moments every few songs. Galder's vocals are outstanding, as usual, and provide fantastic atmosphere that complements the nature of the music very well creating an overall dark yet melodic aura.
I found that there were a few standout tracks upon my first listen. The title track was released on Myspace a few weeks prior to the album's release and it simply crushes. Some great riffing that goes all over the place from Galder and, like all the songs on this album and the last two, extremely memorable song structure and choruses and overall atmosphere. On the Devil's Throne has the coolest outro on the album by far, except for maybe the incredible Ferden Mot Fiendens Land, which is in some language I can't identify. Ferden has some of the most headbang-able kick drum and riffage sections I've ever heard. It may not be technically out of this world, but god dammit if it ain't effective! I personally feel that's what makes Galder's music so great. He's not the most atmospheric songwriter, or the most technical, etc, but what he does is very effective and enjoyable, despite it's somewhat mainstreaminess.
Arguably the one weak point on this album is that the album doesn't end on as memorable of a note as the last two albums (Life Deprived and Twilight Damnation, respectively). Servants of Satan's Monastery is a solid song, but going on the 10+ listens I've given this album I still don't remember anything about that song as memorable as the keyboards in Twilight Damnation or the riffing and soloing in Life Deprived. Regardless, the album ends on a solid note and it keeps you hungry for more as the album's length is not overdone whatsoever.
Regardless of this minor hiccup, the album is great. If you enjoyed Vermin or Defiance then there is no reason you won't love this album like I do. Galder has done it again, and here's hoping it's not another 4 year wait in between albums!
Where Dimmu Borgir fell, Old Man’s Child rose from the ashes. For years in Dimmu Borgir, Galder has been nothing but a running gag, but on his own project we continually see consistency. He may be part of one big joke in Dimmu Borgir, but Galder’s own material is true enough for Ronald McDonald, Manowar, and myself to approve. This new album is as serious and evil as they get – just look at that cover art! Believe me, the music is even more sick and twisted…
Going into this album I was expecting something along the lines of the flamboyant yet dark In Defiance Of Existence - I was partially correct. No doubt keys play some sort of effect, but not the renaissance / classical influence we were left with on that album. Nuh uh, Galder’s fingers across the keys this time are much more sinister and nasty; they don’t go all-out like early Kalmah or anything, but they’re devastatingly melodious yet mournful. When the track “Path Of Destruction” opened up, I felt my stomach churn and before I knew it, I was sucked into a tornado of culturally aesthetic acoustics, a stake-driving riff, and pummeling double bass – all layered with a touch of traditional manners. It’s like I stepped into Dracula’s Castle, got piss drunk, fucked his mistresses, got my blood sucked to the point of hypnosis, and bailed on a horse and buggy.
What I find spectacular about this album is the production, which is polished as hell and allows everything to reverberate organically. Wildoer on the drums never lets up on the double bass, which is used constantly in a rampaging motion. It’s addicting and works in a groovy fashion with the riffs, making many moments worthy of a headbang – large or small despite a little bit of a hard-knocking snare. The riffs themselves feel like baseball bats to the head, and believe me when I say I know how that feels. Listening to “The Spawn Of Lost Creation” felt like many of these bats to the head, since the production really makes them sound like meteorites. Bass itself is prominent all over the place, and four strings of immense measure by Galder are used well in this case and provide all the backup needed. Thus, the album has this filling sound; air seems sucked dry, no room is left to breath, and your ears will be rumbling like crazy when trying to live through it.
My praise will have to continue as I compliment Galder himself, who still hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to growling back at the monster his instruments have created. He barks much in the same way that Dan Swanö would, thus reminding me a little bit of Bloodbath (even though he didn’t do vocals for that band). Yes, Bloodbath are death metal, but this new album sounds so ferocious I’d say it borders death metal. He does let loose some tortured and mutilated growls, but I haven’t noticed any outright screams yet, which is a good thing since they wouldn’t fit in this scenario. What I love is how with this album I get this sort of party vibe – no not like 21st century western parties where there’s a shitty electronic beat or anything. No, I mean like those classical parties where the wine flows rampantly, women dress lavishly, men still hold a code of chivalry, and Galder is hosting the entire thing.
Actually, screw that last sentence – I’m listening to “Ferden Mot Fiendens Land” and I’m at the riff /solo climax and I can’t help but take my hands off the keyboard, hold one arm up high, give some horns, and headbang my fucking head ‘till my neck breaks! HOLY SHIT!
DUH-NANANA! DUH-NANANA! DUH-NANANA! DUH-NANANA! DUH-NANANA! DUH-NANANA!
This is what I’m talking about! Some new school black metal that does some damn justice. Galder fails to disappoint, and he does so without failing to deliver not only a powerhouse of an album, but also one that isn’t void of any traditional black metal characteristics. If you thought Galder couldn’t pull this one off, then you better come check this party out and see what you were missing.