Saturday 31 May 2014

Tombs - Savage Gold

If you're not already sick of me today, then you won't mind one more review to round out the day. Just like the Powerxchuck 7" I reviewed earlier, this album from Brooklyn, NY's Tombs isn't out yet. Savage Gold is the band's third full-length. Tombs were recently over in the UK playing at Temples Festival in Bristol, in which they played some of the songs from their new album. They also due to hit the road in the US with Pelican in support of Savage Gold, which you'll be able to get on download, CD and glorious double gold vinyl from Relapse Records in June.


1. Thanatos
2. Portraits
3. Seance
4. Echoes
5. Deathtripper
6. Edge of Darkness
7. Ashes
8. Legacy
9. Severed Lies
10. Spiral

Tombs have been on the edge of my radar for a while and even though I like to listen to a lot of bands, I’ve always missed out on them. I’m a fool for doing so, as with many Relapse bands, they are right up my street. They sound really evil on album opener Thanatos. They wedge black metal next to groove-laden death and post-metal, in an amalgamation that defies categorisation. Double bass and crashing cymbals fight with chunky riffs and raspy growls. Their black metal influence is further expanded with the intro to Portraits. Clean guitar is used in between the verses to weave some really nice melodies, which break up the blastbeats and add an extra dimension to their sound. 

The soundscapes that Tombs create in the song help to make the various parts into a cohesive whole, which a lot of bands struggle to achieve when they strive for progression. There’s a lot of subtlety hidden within the depths of Savage Gold. The reverb and dissonance nestling underneath the riffs of Seance are a prime example. The production manages to bring out a more encompassing sound, that seems to circle you from the speakers. Mike Hill’s vocals are super intense, but refrain from being inaudible, which is a skill in itself. Echoes takes the atmosphere in a different direction, with the vocals turning from blackened rasps, to part spoken-word/whisper, with droning guitar during the opening verse. As a result, the song takes on a more occult feel.

Tombs explore the sense of occult further with Deathtripper, which is the standout track on Savage Gold in my opinion. That riff that sits high up in the mix really caught my attention, straight from the off. Overall it’s a pretty menacing song with spoken-word, chant-like vox and an undercurrent of noise, bristling through it. Tombs do ratchet up the brutality as it gets toward the end though. Things keep getting better too, with the awesome lead work during Edge of Darkness. Just kicking back and listening to it opens up all manner of metallic wonder. That statement sounds a bit weird, but who cares! It strikes me that the second part of Savage Gold seems so much more varied than the first half. It’s almost as if Tombs have settled down and loosened up, as Ashes sounds huge and more urgent.

Talking of urgency, Legacy is fast by Tombs standards, with plenty of blasting and some great dual guitar. Severed Lies hammers home just how good the production on Savage Gold is. The swirling melody created by the guitar sounds majestic and it compliments the doom-edged feel of the song.  It all ends on a high with Spiral, which is utterly mad. The rhythms and drum fills are constant and attack you straight from the first second. The guitars and vocals take you back to the blackened beginnings of the album, like it was meant to be. 

Tombs have managed to craft an album which will appeal to people across the whole metal spectrum, without it sounding unfocused and messy, which is to be expected when you consider their previous bands and the experience they’ve got. It’s riffy, it’s loud and it’s epic. 2014 just keeps getting better. Awesome!

You can listen to Deathtripper, Edge Of Darkness and Spiral via the Relapse bandcamp page here:-

You can pre-order the digital download from the same page or you can order Savage Gold on CD and double vinyl from the Relapse Store here -

Tombs Facebook -
Relapse Records Facebook -

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