Monday, 16 February 2015

Tombs "Savage Gold" (2014)

Tombs are an American four piece band from Brooklyn, New York. "Savage Gold" is their fourth full length release, and beyond that there is little I can say about this group. I had not heard of them before noticing this album cover, which caught my attention and so I picked up a copy. Hailed as an "experimental metal" group I was slightly bemused as to what exactly was experimental, this was one of the most straightforward and gratifying Metal records I've heard in recent memory, yet it has to be said for everything that feels "normal" about their approach to writing music, the end result certainly has a unique flavor to it that I struggle to pinpoint its origin.

From the moment this album kicks off, it offers up a familiar formula of sound most common with early Black Metal. Crisp mechanical drumming hammers out blast beats and shuffling fills in between commonplace Metal rhythms as dense tonal guitars tremolo pick slow, snaky scale progressions. Mike Hill's gruff, narrow shouts snarl and scream with the blackened music. Melodic inflections character these songs in the moments the lead guitar breaks into a cleaner sound, but for the most part they follow a typically singular, simplistic approach, climbing up and down scales with an evil, haunting vibe, utilizing tremolo picking, power chords and the occasional dischord. The group don't stray far from this sound, the tracks like "Deathtripper" and "Severed Lives" bring the pace down, and atmosphere up as Hill draws out whispering screams over menacing guitar leads.

The album has a patient flow to it, despite its blasting drums the pace is steady and many riffs and moments are drawn out, not in a hurry to leave the place they create. Its an unusual listen. To break it down there is nothing unique or special, yet as its own art it offers something subtly distinct, despite its familiarities. Its the kind of record that doesn't blow you away with any moments, but creeps up on you as it slowly wraps its tentacles around you, sucking you in. Equally so I didn't find these songs to stick in my mind, yet they are a pleasure to listen to. I think these are all signs of great musicianship that is focused on the consistency and subtleties, more so than an upfront, in your face attitude. And on a final note, the kit sounds gorgeous, the snare has texture, the kicks rattle deep and the toms are given treatment too, one of the best sounding kits I've heard in a while.

Favorite Songs: Seance, Deathtripper, Edge Of Darkness, Severed Lives
Rating: 7/10