Over the past decade, Brooklyn extreme metal act Tombs has built a reputation for consistently releasing challenging, tasteful music. While the band's lineup has fluctuated greatly over the years, main member Mike Hill seems to use this as a constant source of reinvigoration. Where other bands would fail to find their turf, Tombs keeps the audience on their toes while retaining their form of blackened post-metal's core elements. The current incarnation sees Tombs as a vicious, lean three-piece with Evan Void from Hivelords on guitar and Charlie Schmid from Vaura on drums to round things out and add their unique skills to Hill's singular sound. The end result is The Grand Annihilation, an album that's muscular without being overblown and one-dimensional. As vocalist Mike Hill comments, "In a world diminished by micro-aggression and sensitivity, Tombs deliver a definitive statement on raw physical power."
Accentuating the pummeling black atmospheres of songs like "Cold" and "Way of the Storm" is crisp and clean production from Hate Eternal mastermind Erik Rutan. The darkest corners are illuminated enough to display what lingers just beyond one's view, yet there's no sterilization of the true ferocity delivered throughout. Instead, there's just enough room for the band to stretch out within their own sound. While Hill channels his gothic side with Tom G. Warrior inflected singing in "Walk With Me in Nightmares" and "Saturnalian," it's the cutting back and forth between harsh rasps and haunting croons in "Old Wounds" that benefits most greatly from the clarity and sharpness of the album's production.
While moments of melody may seem like an easy grab elsewhere, they flow so naturally within the album's pacing that the album would run the risk of feeling forced without them. Branching out can be scary, but Tombs manages to do it with grace, balancing their own tried and true sound with new ambition instead of moving in unprecedented directions. This is the sound of a band that is hungry and motivated for live performance, a band with a destructive impulse that is kept in check just enough to maintain creative control. With a recently announced tour alongside Fit for an Autopsy and Moon Tooth, these songs will have the chance to entice listeners in their ideal format.
The Grand Annihilation will be released by Metal Blade Records tomorrow, but Noisey's streaming the whole damn thing right now to entice you to step into the shadows before the record lands on shelves (preorders are live here, too).
TOMBS w/ Fit For An Autopsy, Moon Tooth:
6/16/2017 Ottobar - Baltimore, MD
6/17/2017 Reverb - Reading, PA
6/18/2017 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA
6/19/2017 Blind Tiger - Greensboro, NC
6/20/2017 Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta, GA
6/21/2017 Orpheum - Tampa, FL
6/22/2017 Neutral Ground Coffeehouse - New Orleans, LA
6/23/2017 Grizzly - Austin, TX
6/24/2017 Walters - Houston, TX
6/25/2017 Curtain Club - Dallas, TX
6/26/2017 Blu Phoenix - Albuquerque, NM
6/27/2017 Nile Half Room - Mesa, AZ
6/28/2017 Roxy - West Hollywood, CA
6/29/2017 DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA
6/30/2017 Lost on Main - Chico, CA
7/01/2017 Analog - Portland, OR
7/02/2017 El Corazon - Seattle, WA
7/04/2017 Metro Music Hall @ Black Metal & Drag BBQ - Salt Lake City, UT *
7/05/2017 Marquis Theatre - Denver, CO
7/06/2017 Waiting Room - Omaha, NE
7/07/2017 Reggies - Chicago, IL
7/08/2017 Foundry - Cleveland, OH
7/09/2017 Knitting Factory - Brooklyn, NY
* no Fit For An Autopsy, Moon Tooth
Ben Handelman is staying sharp on Twitter.