Tombstones – “Vargariis” (Soulseller Records)
Norse doom noise sludge! Although forming some 10 years ago, the release of 2013’s “Red Skies and Dead Eyes” broke the band big in Europe, resulting in no less than four continental tours alongside bands such as Eyehategod, Church of Misery, Egypt and Witch Mountain over the course of two years. Recent years have seen the band spread their wings even farther at the legendary Roadburn Festival, not to mention Desertfest, Freak Valley Festival, Muskelrock, and Doom Over Leipzig. As such it doesn’t come as a surprise that that intense energy and live presence can be felt on “Vargariis”, name after a two headed Norse wolf! Coming from Norway, renowned for its black metal, Tombstones have boldly taken on all the aspects of stoner, doom, sludge and even some noise into one awesome package to rival even the most hateful satanist. With its stripped down, in your face live sound production, the material on this fifth album in made even more darker and brutally heavy. Think mammoth drum battery, heavy distorted bass and even more dirty, feedback soaked guitars effortlessly shifting from musty downtuned doom, to (steam) rolling stoner grooves to wailing noise drenched – well, noise – all capped off by Bjørn-Viggo Godtland’s primordial vocals on songs like the shit heavy ‘Oceans Of Consciousness’, the epic ‘And When The Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise’ and the black hole of ‘Pyre Of The Cloth’! From trippy intensity to cosmic grooves and doom laden noise, Tombstones bring it all together in their massive walls of sound, all cascading splendidly to their own momentum thanks to that live experience translated into the recording of the six monster tracks here. Definitely one of most epic albums this year, proving that if Vikings were stoners then Tombstones is what they’d be listening to!!!!