On May 22, 1453 the moon appeared to turn blood red in the night sky. The lunar eclipse above was interpreted below as the fulfilling of a prophecy in Byzantium as the city of Constantinople would fall to the Ottomans a week later. As Los Angeles based three-piece, Ides of Gemini, weave tales about such mystically historical events there too is a sense of ‘meant to be’. Call it the fulfilling of a sonic prophecy, the aural divination of music itself.
After the triumph that was their debut album, Ides of Gemini return with the praiseworthy follow-up, Old World New Wave. Ides of Gemini are one of the more intriguing acts unfolding in the metal underground these days. Equal parts doom metal-inspired melodicism and ritualistic atmospheres, Ides of Gemini are a band that force listeners to eschew conventional wisdom on a fairly regular basis. They are a juxtaposition of both the bombastic and understated, with a style that accentuates the negative spaces between notes as much as the notes themselves. While a track, such as opener “Black Door”, pounds away in rhythmic heaviness it also maintains an incredibly catchy chorus not usually seen by any band whose bio freely mentions the word “doom”. Yet a track like “Seer of Circassia” takes a similarly measured style and slows it to a pace equivalent to the churning waves of a soothing ocean on a peaceful evening, beautiful yet ever so powerful. On a track like “May 22, 1453” they find themselves wavering in and out of post-rock/psychedelic territory, thus solidifying their willingness to allow each song to act upon itself as a singular work of art, yet likewise grand strokes of brilliance assembling a greater masterwork.
Ides of Gemini are less a metal band and more a ceremonial centerpiece. With each droning, ghostly emanation from guitarist, Jason Bennett, each tribal beat from drummer, Kelly Johnston-Gibson, and each gliding, spiraling note from vocalist, Sera Timms, Ides of Gemini are adding to the rich, sombre canon they began with their debut. This album is as much a journey of the combined, intertwined spirits of those partaking as it is a musical experience. Each track feels like pure momentum pushing further into an enigmatic forest where fervent spiritual happenings are the norm. It’s as if we have stumbled, either accidentally or intentionally, upon some ancient rite of passage, some primeval gathering that we won’t fully understand until this album’s full digestion. Secrets are hidden here, waiting to be unlocked.
Old World New Wave will be released through Neurot Recordings on September 16. You can experience the visually stunning and sonically gorgeous album trailer at the Ides of Gemini website.