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I'm a little apprehensive when it comes to the majority of modern metal releases; when something has the title of 'melodic' in its description, it's usually a red-flag for me to stay away as I will most likely hate it.
After reading reviews on Old Man's Child, I decided to give this band a chance. I've never heard a single Dimmu Borgir song in my life so I had no preconceived notions of what to expect outside of what the reviewers on metal-archives had described regarding "Vermin".
Galder's vocals are absolutely top-tier on this release; for the most part he uses an approach not wholly dissimilar to the late Jon Nödtveidt (RIP) or even Nisse Karlén (SACRAMENTUM). The vocals are hate-filled and throat-tearing but Galdur enunciates well so the listener can understand the lyrics and stay engaged. The death metal vocals are thoroughly excellent too and the two are intertwined on "Vermin" expertly and really add a nice dimension to the music.
Very few bands come to mind which employ a somewhat symphonic sound in their extreme metal that I enjoy. A rare example would be Nokturnal Mortum's "Lunar Poetry" demo and maybe some Emperor as well. Old Man's Child uses keyboards when necessary to add a dark, ominous atmosphere to every single one of these songs. I concur that this album, as a whole, has an apocalyptic vibe to it and gives the listener a sense of imminent doom.
While there is nothing technical about "Vermin" (outside of the excellent drumming), the compositional abilities of Galder are absolutely astounding; not once while listening to this did I become bored or feel like I was listening to stereotypical 'melodic black metal'. The production is excellent and the keyboards are mixed perfectly into the music. One of the redeeming values here is that Galder knows when to employ the keys to add a little something extra to the music and when to simply use two guitars, a bass, and drums to get his musical ideas across.
The riffing style is varied and crosses genres from black metal, death metal and traditional heavy metal. There are a ton of morbid melodies found on "Vermin" which would not be out of place on some classic Swedish death metal releases and they really boost the overall quality. There are solos as well but they're used to complement the riffs and the mood of whichever particular song is currently playing; the solos seem to be classically influenced and they're very melodic and well-placed.
Overall, "Vermin" is about as perfect of an album as one will find in modern metal... highly recommended. The guitar playing, production, vocals, drumming and musical vision of a highly, highly talented Galder make this a must own.