Old Man's Child

Picture of Old Man's Child

Born of the Flickering

Old Man's Child - Born of the Flickering ©1995 Century Media
1. Demons of the Thorncastle
2. Swallowed by a Buried One
3. Born of the Flickering
4. King of the Dark Ages
5. Wounds from the Night of Magic
6. On Through the Desert Storm
7. Christian Death
8. Funeral, Swords and Souls
9. The Last Chapter
10. ...Leads to Utopia/The Old Man's Dream

Old Man's Child is a tutorial in how to give black metal a black eye. As with any new style or scene that is ushered into the public consciousness, there are the bands that lead and then there are the bands that hang around the cool kids, hoping to get attention. Old Man's Child is like Milhouse to Dimmu Borgir's Bart. In fact, Old Man's Child ultimately must be bound to Dimmu Borgir's legacy because Galder, the mainstay of Old Man's Child, eventually joined the band he wished his own sounded like. That's taking the incestuous nature of the Norwegian metal scene to new levels.

Born of the Flickering was Old Man's Child's full length debut and it was cut from the same cloth as Dimmu Borgir and other "symphonic" black metal bands that were starting to appear at the time. Amusingly, the term "symphonic" generally means "we have a keyboard player in our band". To some degree, Born of the Flickering has occasional moments of interest. Their bassist on this album occasionally noodled his way around some secondary melodies, but in general, this album is an exercise in sheer mediocrity. Galdar's voice is Grade B Black Metal Shred, with a lot of grating aspects. They were a bit too reliant on the blast-forward drumming, which has almost always suggested a sheer lack of rhythmic creativity to me. Their song titles are very possibly the inspiration for the "Black Metal Song-o-Matic". And of course, what black metal band of the era didn't have comical facepaint and costuming?

For whatever reason, Old Man's Child never did quite go away, not even after Galder joined Dimmu Borgir. Born of the Flickering suggest absolutely nothing that hints at career longevity. This is just kid brother black metal that tries oh so hard to be spooky but instead makes the entire genre sillier than it already appeared to be.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2010

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The Pagan Prosperity

Old Man's Child - The Pagan Prosperity ©1997 Century Black
1. The Millennium King
2. Behind The Mask
3. Soul Possessed
4. My Demonic Figures
5. Doommaker
6. My Kingdom Will Come
7. Return Of The Night Creatures
8. What Malice Embrace

I rather image Old Man's Child is the wallflower of the Scandanavian black metal scene. At dances, they stand against the wall waiting for someone to notice them and no one ever does. Nothing personally against them; in fact, they are quite capable of playing their instruments and making some decent noises come out of them. But there tends to be a rather generic flair throughout this short thirty-six minute disc that causes it to float to the back of the room and not engage you as a listener. This is somewhat of an improvement over Born of the Flickering, but only perhaps because they are blending the atmospheric/keyboard montage into something a bit more palatable. Galdar (or Grusome)'s vocals are still somewhat tiresome, though not as much as others in the genre. The biggest problem is the lack of anything to key into as a great song or something that makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd. Old Man's Child may compliment your Century Black collection, but only if you pick it up used and cheap.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1998

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Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion

Old Man's Child - Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion ©1998 Century Media
1. Towards Eternity
2. The Dream Ghost
3. Demoniacal Possession
4. Fall of Man
5. Captives of Humanity
6. God of Impiety
7. My Evil Revelations
8. Thy Servant

For whatever reason, sometime after The Pagan Prosperity, Old Man's Child's lineup dissolved, leaving poor l'il Galder all by his lonesome with his obstensibly evil music and no one to play with. I suppose I could look up a band biography to find out just why Galder lost his bandmates, but chances are it'll chock full of typical record label publicity and the preposterous idea that Old Man's Child is somehow magnificent, profound or otherwise musically impressive. So no matter the reason for Galder losing his bandmates, Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion was recorded on his own (with help from session drummer Gene Hoglan, who presumably got a good paycheck for his trouble). Ill conceived seems like the more accurate description of this entirely dispensible recording.

To be blunt, the drumming is the only noteworthy aspect of this album and I wouldn't be surprised if Hoglan flew in, did his parts in three days or less, and flew back home with a few extra dollars in his pocket. The remainder of the album is entirely up to the songwriting skills of Galder and he's just not that good at it. Old Man's Child has long been the flagbearer of relatively well-known, but thoroughly mediocre black metal. There's moments in "Gods of Impiety" and "Thy Servant" that almost get interesting, but it's not exactly a reason to rush out to buy this album. Nor is it worth your time if you're a Gene Hoglan fan. And if for some reason Old Man's Child is your all time favorite band, I can only offer up my pity.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2010

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Sons Of Satan Gather For Attack [split]

Old Man's Child - Sons Of Satan Gather For Attack ©1999 Hammerheart
1. Master Of Disharmony
2. Devil's Path
3. Nocturnal Fear
4. Nocturnal Fear (Celtically Possessed)
5. St. Aidens Fall
6. Seeds Of The Ancient Gods
7. Manet Sorgfull Igjennom Skogen
8. The Old Man's Child
9. ...Og Jeg Iakttok Dødsrikets Inntog

Pairing up a couple early recordings by two similiar Norwegian bands, Hammerheart Records has done us the favor of perfectly comparing and contrasting two of the better known keyboard oriented black metal bands. Perhaps the most notable thing about this album is the fact that Old Man's Child comes across as the minor leagues for Dimmu Borgir and considering Old Man's Child band leader Galder has recently ended up in Dimmu Borgir, you can sense Galder has spent years hoping for his chance to play in that band. But up until that glorious day when the majors came calling, Galder has been plying his wares for that second string band.

This split CD with one of the all time corniest titles (Sons of Satan Gather for Attack? How juvenile) does very little to excite, although a couple of the songs are well done. Dimmu Borgir's half, from their 1996 Devil's Path EP, contains precisely one interesting song (the title track), one representative of their sound at the time ("Master of Disharmony") and two by-the-numbers versions of Celtic Frost's "Nocturnal Fear". Having not one, but two versions of that song does nothing but add weariness to their part of the album.

Old Man Child's half is nothing particularly revolutary. Despite the claim in the liner notes that they "maintain their own style", Old Man's Child still comes across as Dimmu Borgir Jr. here, tossing around a midpaced, unenthused form of keyboard oriented black metal. It is competent at best, but hardly something demanding I rush out to adorn myself with Old Man's Child sweatshirts and baseball caps. This is a band who fills the need of those genre fanatics who simply cannot get their fill of the given style. The rest of us can live without this just fine, thank you very much.

Overall, this split CD might save you the trouble of having to track down the two EPs individually. That's assuming either product is particularly vital to your existence. And that's a huge assumption. As it stands, Dimmu Borgir's only necessary release is still Stormblast and the same album applies for Old Man's Child.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2000

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Revelation 666: The Curse Of Damnation

Old Man's Child - Revelation 666: The Curse Of Damnation ©2000 Century Media
1. Phantoms Of Mortem Tales
2. Hominus Nucturna
3. In Black Endless Void
4. Unholy Vivid Innocence
5. Passage To Pandemonium
6. Obscure Divine Manifestation
7. World Expiration
8. Into Silence Embrace

Given Dimmu Borgir's recent surge of worldwide attention, you knew it was going to happen. That's right. Bands were going to pop out of the woodwork playing a more brutal sort of symphonic black metal. While the Agathodaimons and others are probably going to forever remain in the second tier of the style, Old Man's Child is making a supreme effort to grab onto the coattails of Dimmu Borgir and perhaps get a piece of that elusive pie of success. What is unfortunate for Old Man's Child is that Galdar's project has always been chasing the tail of the bigger dogs with bigger coattails (or should that be penguins) and never quite demonstrated the band could be anything more than mildly amusing at best. Revelation 666: The Curse of Damnation, complete with precisely the most typical song titles ever, will do nothing to help push the band along into the true spotlight.

If you do happen to be a huge fan of the style of music Dimmu Borgir played on Spiritual Black Dimensions or get a kick out of keyboard laced, thrash based black metal, you simply will like this album. While it may not offer anything outside the realm that has already been explored, Revelation 666 is an exceptionally well produced and competently played. Songs like "Hominus Nucturna" and "Unholy Vivid Innocence" have a powerful keyboard backing and effective midpaced tempos.But for those of us who demand a bit more from our music, Old Man's Child is still somewhat of a disappointment. The fact that the album has so much in common with the aforementioned (and mentioned often) Dimmu Borgir is the first problem I have. We already have Spiritual Black Dimensions. And it wasn't particularly wonderful. Do we really need another version by a different band? What Old Man's Child does is very expected and fails to really add much to a formula that is rapidly becoming overplayed. Each riff, each keyboard wash, each rasped vocal is so expected. For extreme music to work, the band must create something that is a bit different or unusual. Human psychology shows us that as we become more accustomed to a certain sound (or music), our tendency to fear it or have elevated senses towards it is reduced. The more exposure to a certain style will eventually water down the effectiveness of the music. I think that Old Man's Child is doing a disservice to themselves by not pushing themselves harder to stand out a bit more. Craving the success of Dimmu Borgir is fine but it would be nice if the band could be more than an echo of an already existing sound.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2000

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