Tombs have a strong track record, (Savage Gold, All Empires Fall, The Grand Annihilation), so ensuring I listened to this release was an easy choice. Having undergone a twisted rebirth of sorts, (three out of the four members are new), the latest Tombs EP marks a more-collaborative version of the band, and the results are impressive.
The music has an obvious basis in black metal, but also visits other genres and styles not only with ease, but holistically, and with good judgement displayed as to what will work. Classic metal, death metal, and death rock can be heard here and there, as can the use of keyboards and electronics. Grim atmosphere appears in places, while at other times a more direct and brutal approach is taken. Sharp melodies threaten to cut the skin, while the rhythm guitars go about their nefarious business.
Each song has its own identity and personality, and each of them stands strong on its own merits, offering something of its own. With this diversity of blackened delivery and refusal to be boxed in to any one genre, as well as three members contributing vocals, (and a guest vocalist and two guest musicians), this music is multifaceted, well-rounded, and darkly textured.
Well-written and surprisingly catchy and moreish, Monarchy of Shadows is more powerful and complete-sounding than many EPs. This is especially true given its length; at 35 minutes in duration, this essentially feels like an album, and certainly the quality levels are up there with those you’d expect from a full-length release.
The return of Tombs is a triumphant one. Make sure you give this a spin.