Tuesday 3 December 2013

Open Tomb - Servants Of Slow Tape

Okay, it's time for an actual doom review! This is a tape I've had for a while and I've been dying to review it for quite some time. Coming from the jaws of another one of Manchester's uber prolific metal labels, Dry Cough Records, this discography tape of sorts collects seven tracks from New Zealand three-piece Open Tomb. New Zealand is really kicking out so sick slow jams at the moment, with these guys and Meth Drinker becoming more prominent.  In fact both these bands have shared a split together in the past.

Open Tomb have been spewing doom since 2011, but already have a two demo's, a single, a split and this compilation tape to their name. The tape features the four tracks that made up their self-titled demo, the two tracks from their side of the split with Meth Drinker and an unreleased song.


1. Despair
2. Life Fucker
3. Monday Leviathan
4. Damned To Forgive
5. Off With His Hands
6. Hostile Womb
7. Blood And Flies (Demo)

Open Tomb awaken with the opening bars of a song aptly named Despair. It’s bass-heavy tones pretty much some up what’s to come. It’s got all of the trappings you’d expect from a doom record. There’s groove, slow and sorrowful drumming and tortured screams, which sees them airing on the side of Funeral doom initially. As Despair rolls on, the lead guitar adds a bit of vibrancy to the murky doom. It’s not overplayed and is used just enough to be tantalisingly effective. They seem to momentarily stop mid-way through the song, becoming more minimalistic as the song approaches it’s dismal end. What an opening song to star on and if you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded.

Life Fucker sees Open Tomb go even more minimalist. A long instrumental section draws you in, only to be brow-beaten by more raspy screams. This song is short in doom terms and  proves that you shouldn’t expect short doom songs to be fast. Open Tomb do a top job of condensing things into such a short song. It’s easy to get totally lost in this ungodly dirge during Monday Leviathan. The riffs, while low in the register still make you pay attention. I thought New Zealanders had a sunny disposition! The final song featured from their self-titled demo is Damned To Forgive, which is another shorter piece. The tempo is as bleak as it’s predecessors. 

Next up are their two slabs from that split with Meth Drinker. Off With His Hands manages to sound both gloomier and more engaging at the same time. It might be due to the slight variation in riffs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still low and it still crawls along, but it does sound like Open Tomb evolved through their song-writing after their initial demo. Some bands change their sound almost completely after their demo releases, but for Open Tomb it does seem like they favour gradual progression, which kind of makes sense when you consider their chosen sub-genre. Damn I love this! If you just zone out, turn off any artificial light or electronics and just sit with this on, it creates all kinds of whirling visions in your head. Hostile Womb for me is the standout in Servants Of Slow. That effect is all the more apparent as well, when the vocal effects enter the fray. 

Closing out the tape is the unreleased demo Blood And Flies. By now, you’re probably either unable to move because of the sheer weight of the riffs or your hallucinating some kind of darker than dark visions, but one thing for sure, this last tome will be your end. Open Tomb seem oblivious to the outside world. They’re content to drag everyone down and make the feel the pain and hurt that they feel. The cries during the closer are enough to prove that their doom is gruesome enough to drive any lesser man mad. Not for the faint of heart!

You can lose yourself by listening to it all here:-

The tape is unsurprisingly sold out via Dry Couch Records and I doubt the band has any copies left either. Your best bet is to head to your favourite distro, to see if they have any copies.

Open Tomb Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Open-Tomb
Dry Cough Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords

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