Both 2014’s Savage Gold and last year’s All Empires Fall were absolute top-quality releases from this very well-regarded band. Mixing black metal with a whole host of other styles and influences to create something all of their own, Tombs have been an impressive proposition for many years now.
So here we are with their fourth full-length release. As a continually-evolving beast, the latest album from Tombs sees them further developing and refining their sound once more. Although the blackened base of the style is still present and correct, The Grand Annihilation is probably the band’s most diverse and varied release, further pushing into the post- side of the post-black metal appellation, yet without sacrificing what it means to be black metal.
As I say, the black metal influences are still here, mostly quite blatantly; this is why I feel quite comfortable applying the post-black metal tag to them, rather than just post-metal, or whatever.
Melodic black-metal sharpness, post-punk emotion, sludge tribalism, post-metal introspection, gritty blackened crust, spiky thrash, and a host of other styles and sub-styles are represented during these 49 minutes. If it sounds at all messy or disjointed from this description, it really isn’t. All of the various elements that Tombs use to craft their songs come together under their own blackened stylistic umbrella in such a fashion that everything they do just sounds natural and unforced. This is true whether the band are channelling the spirit of the second wave, or playing in a much more contemporary post-metal fashion.
Each track very much has its own identity and is easily distinguished from the others. Even though this is the case, the album still works as a complete whole, with no single song sounding out of place or incongruous.
The songs are well-written and have quite a lot of hooks in them. Catchy vocal patterns and infectious riffs are relatively common, usually sitting buried in a wider aggressive framework, or nestled alongside some of the more atmospheric soundscapes.
The latest Tombs album is full-bodied and wide-ranging. For a blackened treat that’s more open-minded than most, while still retaining an identifiably black metal approach, The Grand Annihilation is an extremely enjoyable listen.