Playing this week: Tombs

This is what Sammy O’Hagar, my colleague over at MetalSucks, had to say about Tombs’ first album:

Tombs are what it would sound like if a sludgecore band got put through the black metal ringer wearing a Godflesh shirt. But that doesn’t do them justice. The guitars are warm (even when chilly blackened tremolo picking is involved), the drums are propulsive and constant, the vocals vary between a midranged hardcore bark to a raspiness to a shout-sing that’s reminiscent of Messiah-era Justin Broadrick (all without sounding unrelated). The record is soaked in reverb, making the band sound real and raw; an album like Winter Hours could suffocate in the compressed air of other current metal production. But the real power of it is how affecting it is: emotional without becoming histrionic, it borrows from post-rock to use vagueness where other bands would use specifics. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t punch you in the fucking gut as it’s playing to it; Winter Hours still packs some ballsy riffs with pummeling drums behind them. And all this happens in 37 minutes. Each song is an interesting little microcosm, sticking around for as long as it needs to then cedes to the song that follows.

Tombs’ varied approach is (albeit distantly) reminiscent of great non-metallers Fugazi, in that Fugazi incorporate elements of dub reggae, hip hop, hardcore punk, punk rock, noise rock, and a slew of other fringe genres and still manage to come out sounding like Fugazi. Tombs chug forward with little regard for making their influences known; the parts are there, but welded together cohesively enough that you can’t make out the edges right away. Instead, Tombs just sound like a solid band making a solid, sprawling yet well constructed album that explores great spaces in a small amount of time. But pretentious ass kissing will only say so much. They’re just good, OK? They’re just good.

Now, I don’t always agree with my fellow MS writers, but I definitely agree with almost everything about the above quote. Except for the end. Tombs is not “just good.” They’re way better than that. The Brooklyn trio has come a long way since their debut album came out two years ago, and their forthcoming Path of Totality album – produced by John Congleton (Baroness, Explosions in the Sky) – should be a goddamned gloomy, pummeling, and epic thing of beauty.

Check out this live video from a show back in October for a hint:

Or, get the hint yourself: Tombs plays Will’s Pub on Saturday, March 26, with Wormrot.


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