Tombs is the latest project from Mike Hill (former member of the criminally underrated bands Anodyne and Versoma). Tombs seemingly picks up from where Hill's last and short lived project Versoma left off with their EP Life During Wartime; this short, seven song EP is a good starting point for Tombs with its thick guitars and loud sound.
Opening with "Fountain of the World 666," the band begins loud, loud and semi-melodic with sweeping layers of guitars; in fact Tombs stuffs layers of guitars into what amounts to be almost the entire space of the song's sound-scape. Hill's not quite shouted vocals tie down the music to the powerful, but understated rhythm section while the second vocalist offers a counterpoint to broaden the sonic palette. "Course of Empire" has a lethargic beginning that eventually gives way to the vocals and a lead guitar part while still maintaining the general rhythm and tempo that the song establishes; it is a neat effect that works well until the music begins to change a bit, while the lead guitar sound stand as the linking element throughout the track. The sound of "Calvaire" is a bit different; it gives off a more biting or violent feel, and even though the guitars drop out for a time on the song there is still this menacing mood and thickness to the volume.
"Marina" serves as a literal mid point to Tombs both sequence wise and conceptually as it is an instrumental that helps anchor the two halves of the EP together. The static, feedback, and other noise feel a bit claustrophobic as it undulates with a noticeable wave-like pattern.
The noisiness of Monuments is stellar and the song sounds much different than others on Tombs, giving a bit of variety but still maintaining the familiar sounds that are prevalent throughout the record, just done a bit different. The sparse atmosphere and slow thrum of Darker than Your Nights is a killer trip that amply fakes listeners out prior to the 180 degree turn that the song takes; the eerie vibe is quite excellent. When Tombs gets loud, it sounds as if the whole band is seconds from crashing into each other while a couple of lead guitar lines (reminiscent of Versoma) holds sneak in and out of the melee. Then the song abruptly kicks into the last song on the record, Hallways of Always, which has a real heavy rhythmic quality that is instantly noticeable.
The flow of Tombs is excellent as the songs seamlessly progress from one to another creating a solid, cohesive EP. The guitars just keep coming at the listener as the band navigates through its songs, and they do not seem to let up from their momentum. Tombs fills the entire aural sphere with sound and swirling textures and amplified noise; it's the kind of volume of noise that listeners can feel their heads get heavy or fuzzy while they listen to it (almost as if the sound gather its own mass as it enters one's ears). One of the other interesting aspects of this release is the fact that the band includes the CD with the vinyl; I like that they did this, it makes choosing between vinyl and CD a moot point; so, support the band and pick this up at the Black Box Recordings link below.
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