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Tombs: Tombs (2008) September 23, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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Tombs: Tombs

Tombs: Tombs

I think I came across this while looking for metalgaze, that ill-defined blend of metal and shoegazer that can be applied to bands as disparate as Jesu, Nadja, Angelic Process, and Alcest. This didn’t seem to be quite what I was looking for when I downloaded it a few months ago, which is why I haven’t listened to it much. It owes a lot to hardcore punk, including the vocal style, which really differentiates it from shoegazer. Apparently, it’s the album after this EP that has more of a ‘gazer sound, but that one’s not on eMusic. So… what am I listening to?

If there’s a shoegazer connection, it’s the pounding and noisy My Bloody Valentine of songs like “You Made Me Realise” and “Feed Me With Your Kiss,” not the more tranquil and hyperproduced Loveless version of the band (don’t get me wrong, I love that album). Tombs uses loud squalling guitars in its songs, which tend to be a bit slower than a lot of hardcore and metal.

A Decibel article on the band mentions Swans and Black Flag as influences along with MBV, and I can definitely hear that; I’d already thought that Tombs had the churning anger and hostility of Black Flag’s Damaged multiplied by the noisier side of MBV, but Swans (their earlier noise dirge stuff) fits too, and I’m reminded a bit of Helmet occasionally. The vocals on the penultimate track occasionally almost drift into silly metal cookie monster territory, but they aren’t actually that much more extreme than the vocals elsewhere on the EP, which tend to be shouted or howled. But this song is definitely more metal than punk once it kicks off. The last track, “Hallways of the Always,” is where I hear the most Helmet, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

I’ve never really been able to get into mainstream metal much, aside from Motorhead and some Metallica, but I’ve found some good music over the years that lurks around the edges. I think this deserves to be added to that list, even if it’s not quite what I initially expected.

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