This is as much time as I've spent with any one single band in ages. Melbourne's Olmeg consumed a frigid November weekend with their 2012 debut, Slab, only to follow it up by introducing the sophomore epic Primordial Soup. I'd hoped to wrap up a few loose ends at home, but this trio of diggers managed over two hours of distraction that I'd welcome back without hesitation. As a student of the 90's, these nine tracks presented me the makings of a disenchanting trap. What I found was instead a trip marrying my past and my present, an incredibly staggering ambivalence between looking back and facing forward.
That Slab was all I could've wanted, littered with quick, punchy grunge dropped into a bath of fuzz and jangled funk. Riffs, sludge rhythms, meaty choruses, and occasional catharses lulled me into a build toward poignant ascents, steadily swelling behind a slow and cavernous psychedelia drifting into barroom blues and southern fists. Those bloody knuckles bobbed for stones and came up caked, but the trippy mirages stole marquee billing. This band wants to come unhinged, it's clear. What's more evident on their nine-track return, due out December 12th, is the crafted strides these mates have committed to making.
Spacey, smooth, tripped-out... Trans-dimensional hits a gait and becomes all things. Jammy instrumentals immediately showcase the strides the band made in those two years, complete with focused warble and thick-riffed skyshots. The chippy sandiness of Megalomaniac sits low, simmering and dazzling with lo-fi QOTSA stickiness that stares with head-up fuzz deflation under a slow stagger. The Wolves billows with stoner crunch, buoyant without being cartoonish. Olmeg's engine hums and purrs with a tasty viscosity. So here we are, fellas. Lightyears ahead of where we'd expect.
The immediately pensive, somber Nest is distant until meat-riffs fall like boulders. These courses vary from more-than-you-can-chew to whisper-sniff-swipe servings, the main course a gristle sitting long on the tongue. Wash it down in cosmic guitar bursts and rest that sorrow under a blanket of warm stoner fuzz, bro. And that reflection returns with Scolder, Olmeg's swamp-swagger sway that relents to rueful lumbers. Oh, that sad stoner, struggling to find his place between two divergent atmospheres. This is for him.
For all its tip-toeing, though, Primordial Soup lays down some fucking beef. Tilt the landscape and welcome Told You So, the band's return to stoner-sludge groove. Swirls crash with epic gravity, but what's heaviest is the patience the band exercises. Sure, those quiet moments hold a spooky, touching gravity... But the track truly serves as just another showcase of improved craft and expansive, evolving style. Crunching and punching with loose limbs, Olmeg swell in every direction toward a shameless, hard-boiled cosmos. Mettle is melodic and hopeful, steadily plugging and plodding as the best stoner-sludge does. It's grungy and quite patient, breaking into a fuzzy bass isolation. So hey, isn't that just SO, like, 90's?
I don't have enough space, and if you've made it this far into this gushing diatribe, it's fair to ask why you haven't just clicked the links and screened the tracks. There's a LOT here to digest, and every bit holds a fair balance between past, present, and future. Every track from Primordial Soup provides an exercise in pulsing strength, but still manages the sack to hit every corner. These passages display endless evolution and aren't about to shy from the pain that comes with it. With unmatched tonal movement, these nine tracks offer unpredictable shifts that are deceptively uncalculated and unfairly precise. Olmeg break us, fold themselves, and expand our atmosphere. As this band welcomes the dirt, they encapsulate us without apology.
As stated, 12-12-14. Until then...