Ides of Gemini - Old World New Wave - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ides of Gemini - Old World New Wave

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2014-09-15

Over on the Ides of Gemini Bandcamp page you can buy a copy of the new album, complete with a “black moon ceremonial candle” and a suitably occult looking “hand-crafted emblem”. I can certainly see why the presence of a few ceremonial candles might seem appropriate while listening to Ides of Gemini.

The Californian three-piece makes a sound in thrall to both Sabbath-esque riff worship and something altogether more haunting. Whether you light candles while performing a séance or simply listen on your walk to work, Old World New Wave is an album looking to put you under its spell.

The music is powerful, heavy and intoxicating, with Kelly Johnston-Gibson’s thunderous drums perfectly complimented by Jason Bennett’s sludge-thick riffs. Each track proves to be a mini-epic; songs veering from primal thud to dream-like, Dead Can Dance worthy majesty. The mix of occult overtones, powerful vocals and riffs should certainly appeal to fans of the equally wonderful Jex Thoth.

Both undeniably heavy and beautiful, Ides of Gemini skilfully avoid any easy categorisation. Much of the album's unquantifiable magic comes with vocalist/bassist Serra Timms. Timms' voice has an ethereal yet commanding presence, giving the album the feel of some secretive, woodland ritual.

Tracks like the spacious ‘White Hart’ eschew the propulsive riffs found elsewhere in favour of sublime, Cocteau Twins-gone-heavy soundscapes. It’s here that the band's ghostly harmonies and Timms' voice soar, creating something utterly captivating in the process, a cry to the heavens that casts Timms as a spiritual shaman, singing heavy hymns.

The songs deal in the mystical, the magical and the otherworldly. Current favourite ‘May 22nd 1453’ is a nod to the lunar eclipse that was said to prophesise the fall of Constantinople, the capitol of the Byzantine Empire. If this all sounds a little off-putting then I’ll redirect you to the pure, sonic power of these songs; Old World New Wave will knock you off your feet.

While many forward-thinking bands of heavy inclination (YOB, Om, Swans, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Earth) have found their strength in lengthy compositions, Ides of Gemini stick to punchy three-minute excursions. Only one track stretches past the five-minute mark.

It’s an approach that works in their favour; since having the promo I’ve listened to the album roughly three times a day. I’m completely under this album's spell and there’s not even one ceremonial candle in sight. 

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