Tombs - Savage Gold (Relapse Records)

Oh, the drums...
Release Date: 
8 Jun 2014 - 11:30pm

Tombs third album Savage Gold absolutely kills you with the drums. I could leave the review at that but it wouldn't really tell you much about the ten tracks that make up this lovely piece of metal/post-punk/black metal/what-not. Put simply, it's bloody, bloody good. From the spooky opening to Thanatos, which gives way to blasting that's cut through with massive chords, all the way to closer Spiral, this album positively reeks of solid heavy bloody metal in several different guises.

OK, Andrew Hernandez runs things with his drumming (it is, in a word, incredible) but then you can't forget the master guitar work of Mike Hall (who also does a fine job on vocals) and Garett Bussanick - and let's not forget Ben Brand, who keeps it all tucked in with his bass. I admit that the whole post-punk /post-blackened metal genre can sometimes pass me by but Savage Gold manages not to get too caught up in the shoe-gazing elements, instead they hold back from the totally sweeping soundscapes and replace the dips and soars with harsher guitar work and pummelling drums. Admittedly at times I thought certain tunes were going to go down the maudlin road of 'post whatever' but Tombs manage to keep things suitably heavy. A big relief, I tell you.

Seance showcases the sweeping guitar runs that are almost delicate in places against the (very black) rhythms. Hall executes the signatory black metal growls in a suitably excellent fashion while everyone goes off their nuts in an appropriately dramatic way - and Brand gets to take charge on Echoes (which has some relatively clean singing, by the way). It could be argued that the vocals don't quite cut it on this one but once the gentler intro gives way to the fatter parts of the song, it all makes sense. The bass is out in force again on Deathtripper (a personal favourite of mine) which reminds me of a heavier Bauhaus. Then it all gets a bit more 'traditional' with Edge of Darkness. You do get thrown about a bit by this album but there's a mad sense to it all - I'd go as far as to say that the whole album makes (mad) sense, flowing in a cohesive manner from start to finish and furnishing the listener with some pretty damned sweet tunes. Did I mention the drums are 'kin awesome?