Album Review: Savage Gold by Tombs
When I first heard Tombs a couple of years ago I was instantly in awe of how intense, claustrophobic, and dense their music was. Even to this day, when I’m feeling in the mood for a thick aural bludgeoning of post-blackened sludge I pop their album The Path to Totality on here and there and it instantly brightens up my day. Needless to say, I was quite looking forward to their follow-up, but was concerned because I couldn’t imagine their sound getting any more crushing without turning into a hot mess or just a rehash of their previous masterwork. Well, like any great band, Tombs were able to craft a follow-up that is just as crushing, twice as deep, and a tad less claustrophobic.
Unlike their previous effort which listening to was akin to driving a MAC truck full speed into a mile thick wall of sound, Tombs have toned back the density of their sound to allow more subtlety and an easier listen in searching for and finding nuances punctuated through their still viscous sound. On Savage Gold you will find a more diverse vocal set as the voice goes from shrieking black metal, thunder death, haunting whispers, and chilling cleans. You will also discover that the riffing and rhythm is also a lot more pronounced yet still is able to maintain that thick atmospheric bramble of despair they have identified themselves with. With this opening up of their established ‘closed’ sound the songs on Savage Gold are able to take more twists and turns and all round make a much more engaging album.
Tracks like ‘Spiral’ and ‘Seance’ ooze visceral black metal aggression and tunes like ‘Deathtripper’ and ‘Echos’ bring a death-doom flavor to the mix. But it’s stuff like the song ‘Portraits’ where I really got sucked into this record. Here in addition the assault Tombs adds hints of beauty and air to their very subterranean sound. Bright tones paired with dirt encrusted rhythms and vocals and hypnotizing transitions and guitar solos do nothing but show how much these guys have improved tenfold in their songwriting skills. Same could be said for ‘Edge of Darkness’ and the epic closer ‘Severed Lives’.
All around, Savage Gold is an intense listen filled with many layers to explore and unearth. If you find yourself fancying bands like Neurosis, Precambrian-era The Ocean, or even Behemoth you owe it to yourself to dig up these Tombs. 4.5 out of 5
Savage Gold is out through Relapse Records June 6th in Germany, Benelux, and Finland, and June 10th in EU and the rest of the world. You can buy and stream some tracks here.