Friday, May 6, 2016

Tombs - All Empires Fall (2016)

New Yorkers Tombs have returned with an unexpected EP release that looks like it has an evil Christmas wreath on the front of it. After an equally unexpectedly rocking intro, “Obsidian” begins with a mixture of thrash and black metal that comes off a bit more rough-edged than what the band have done as of late. People that remember the old Tombs might be a bit thankful for this kind of track, which rolls into the foreboding atmosphere of “Last Days Of Sunlight” as something closer to the band's current style comes in. Perhaps one might even say that the feeling ascertained from this one is that of meditation. It begins with a rather creepy notion, but becomes something a bit more hypnotic, like I'd expect from Neurosis. “Deceiver” continues that slower atmosphere for a minute, but it then switches to something that sounds just a little more black and groove, perhaps even some sludge – which is fine with me. There's a backing growl in addition to the frontman's scowl here, which gives the band another element. I'd really have loved to see them genre-break altogether and throw the backing growls to the front, giving us a dose of groove-death on a black metal album. I will say that the chorus is extremely overused to the point of fucking ridiculousness, and it seems like maybe they could have written a couple more lyrics? When I go into an album, I always write more than what I need, just in case. I'd rather just get rid of some lyrics than have to write more for a piece. I mean come on guys, that's damn near phoning it in. You really can't come up with something other than “Dark deceiver! The mirror!” for fucking three minutes? Keep in mind, this is also the longest song on the album, which means that we get more than enough choral reverberations. The last track is entitled “V” and gives us a bit of a Goth gone black metal feel that I can certainly accept. Problem is, it seems that maybe the frontman is a little nervous about this approach. His scowls come off rather menacing, but when he does the Goth croons, they seem a bit muffled in the mix. It seems like he's not so sure how well this approach is going to come off, so he purposely stifles it. There's a very heavy section near the end, where the record ends. The disc pretty much calls it quits after that. In the end, Tombs have given us a rather interesting, albeit confused blend of music from a band that might be wearing a bit thin. These guys should probably take off for a few years before getting to work on a new record, because I think they've been at it for a bit too long and rust is starting to appear.

(5 Tracks, 23:00)


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