Tombs – “The Grand Annihilation” (Metal Blade Records)
With its huge diversity and edginess, Brooklyn has always spawned bands that were cutting edge and unafraid to span across boundaries: Biohazard, Type O Negative, Life of Agony and more recently A Pale Horse Named Death and Candiria would attest to that. Tombs more than ably fall into that fold. A post band mixing the rough n tumble of black metal, hardcore and even shoegaze into their dark and abrasive mix, “The Grand Annihilation” is their (or I should say frontman founder Mike Hill’s) 4th full length, and shows absolutely no sign of abating from that stance whatsoever. Indeed, it would seem that Hill has sought to get even more deeper into the groove from his experiences of touring, enlisting famed producer Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Soilent Green, Belphegor etc) to achieve the measure of his dark, predatory vision. Conceptually based on the Hindu vision of Kali Ma (i.e. destroying one world to create a new one), Hill has adopted this on a personal level in never being static – probably why he is the sole surviving member since 2007! Reflected in his visceral vocals and dark, heavy reverb drenched guitar, there’s more than a nod to early Celtic Frost on ‘Shadows at the End of the World‘ although complemented here by black metallic melodies and a hardcore rhythm that even Mr Warrior would be impressed by. Bringing in the melancholic shoegaze of Joy Division on ‘Saturnalian‘ with his baritone tones and dark wave riffing, there’s an ultra heavy bass sound that once again adds in the hardcore element and man, when Hill switches on the power, it really sounds like the world is ending ha ha! Mixing it all together with a death rock groove on the awesome ‘November Wolves’, from its multiple bestial / cat screech / femme backing vocals to post black riffing and modern shoegaze melodies, Hill has taken the best from all the aforementioned styles to produce an eclectic mix that still has firm connections to its origins, attesting to his skills as an uber composer and arranger. “The Grand Annihilation” is an excellent album both in its energy, diversity and sheer unpredictability while being not too off the wall although I suspect Hill’s inspiration is probably erring closer to the Swans than any of those aforementioned Brooklyn greats?