“Mighty Redwood forest / Slay me with your shade.” Two lines that rather elegantly summarize a lot of what Olde Growth is about. I slept on this video premiere for a couple weeks after seeing it on The Obelisk and I also had intended to work up a bit about their self-titled sole studio release into one of my “stuff from 2011” posts, but have ended up taking a long time to get around to that too. Somehow I suspect Olde Growth wouldn’t have a problem with that, as they take their time with things too, seeming to intentionally grow their profile at the pace of the ancient “giant of the Western shore” that they celebrate in this brilliant piece of transcendental Americana forest doom. The Boston duo first self-released Olde Growth on free download and on CD in eco-friendly packaging back in 2010 and I’m pretty sure it was the now-defunct Doomed To Be Stoned In A Sludge Swamp download blog where I first heard of it (among may other excellent bands such as the distinctly more urban themed Kowloon Walled City; incidentally if you missed it, some of the Swampers now have something to do with Doommantia). Meteor City picked up the band and reissued the album last year, making it now one of my favorite albums of two different years. It is currently one of the $6.66 “Killer Deals” at All That Is Heavy making it one hell of a deal measured in awesome-per-dollar.
It’s gotten a lot of mention from me here on this site as well, which is a lot of words expended on a band with such a scant quantity of recordings out in a two-year span. Probably because I like it a lot. Of course, I’m a sucker for drummer-bassist duos. The fuzz bass is often thickened up with an octave pedal giving it a majestic church-organ-like tone. Stylistically Olde Growth draw from a wide area of doom and psychedelic metal in their riffs and variations of tempos and vocal tones. Many sections have a distinctly bell-bottom vibe, especially those with melodic vocals, fittingly with the mystical and nature themes in the lyrics. Other tracks involve epic battles or fantasy themes. Opener “The Grand Illusion” is particularly notable for describing 20th century warfare in rewind, with such imagery as planes flying backwards vacuuming up bombs. Darker passages, sometimes touching on warfare and/or destruction, draw tastefully from death doom and sludge; “Cry of the Nazgul” (the first section of a three-part track) works a spot-on Noothgrush impression. I’d also definitely recommend this band to Yob fans.
Credits list only the two band members Stephen LoVerme on bass and vocals and Ryan Berry on drums but a couple other sounds pop up. I could swear there’s a guitar solo in “Life in the Present”; “Red Dwarf” is a short synthesizer space-out forming an intermezzo between “Sequoia” and the rest of the album’s second half such that it flows as a kind of suite, intentionally or not, and somewhere in the instrumental “Everything Dies” I’m almost certain I hear some mellotron. Or maybe this could all be clever use of effects on the bass.
Olde Growth should be wrapping up a tour tonight wherein probably the closest they came to Des Moines was Grand Rapids, Michigan but they definitely deserve some attention further west.