Tombs - Path of Totality

Relapse Records
Produced by John Congleton

Although they are based musically in different sub-genres and geographically on opposite sides of the United States, labelmates Tombs and Red Fang have coincidentally followed very similar paths on their first two albums. Both bands released their debut full-length albums in 2009, and they garnered much praise from both fans and critics alike. Then, two years later, both bands released their sophomore albums to very high expectations, and subsequently managed to blow said expectations completely out of the water. In fact, in the case of Tombs, their album Path of Totality even managed to attain "Album of the Year" status on some fairly significant lists - a fact for which the Brooklyn, New York trio has expressed humble gratitude.

Indeed, the praise for this album is well-deserved. There is a lot to love here, and very little to criticize. This album is the aural equivalent of fitting ten pounds' worth of stuff (or maybe even more) into the proverbial five-pound bag. The music is just plain dense. There are tons of awesome riffs, which are repeated just enough to drive their point home while giving way to the next, such that the songs shift and change constantly and never become boring. There are ambient effects which are expertly crafted into the mix by producer John Congleton, which add to the overall proceedings but never overshadow the main parts. There are crushingly heavy guitars everywhere, which scream in a variety of superbly crafted tones without ever fighting one another or drowning out the drums or vocals. Finally - speaking of vocals - there a variety of screams, shouts and growls which always seem to pummel home their point extremely well without ever being overbearing.

All in all, the superb production on this album allows for an insane amount of extremely heavy sounds - which by all rights should end up blending together into an indiscernible cacopony of noise - to pummel the listener into submission over and over again throughout each track.

In addition to the variety of heavy sounds on display here, the style in which they are presented is also impressive. Make no mistake - this is primarily a post-metal album to be sure, but there are definitely more than just mere hints of other flavors such as black metal and sludge present as well, and they are expertly blended into the songs with the greatest of skill. The end result is an extremely compelling combination of both sounds and styles that keeps the listener enraptured throughout the entire album. Indeed, there is absolutely no filler here whatsoever - just tons and tons of heavy goodness.

Again, considering that this is only the second full-length album from Tombs, it really is rather difficult to imagine what they might do in order to top this effort. However, this listener at least will be looking forward with high expectations to their next release, hoping for yet another pummeling-yet-simultaneously-beautiful masterpiece.

“ insane amount of extremely heavy sounds ”

Tracklist: Black Hole of Summer / To Cross the Land / Constellations / Bloodletters / Path of Totality / Vermillion / Passageways / Silent World / Cold Dark Eyes / Black Heaven / Red Shadows / Angel of Deconstruction

Written by Chris Poling
More: 2011, Albums, Post Rock/Metal,

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