Tombs - Path of Totality

Posted on Friday, December 23, 2011

I’m not going to lie. As little as I value the writers of Decibel Magazine’s collective happy-go-lucky, Metal-as-a-passing-fancy opinion, when I saw that Path of Totality was awarded their #1 Album of the Year, it piqued my interest somewhat. I only read while defecating, so perhaps an open anus leads to an open mind as well? Regardless, when I started hearing Tombs’ single, “Silent World,” on Music Choice eight times a day, that piqued interest evolved into an unhealthy obsession that I must own this fucking record immediately (even if it means taking human life at the FYE on Christmas Eve). This song is addictive, most notably the drumming and drum sound. If I can get snare rolls alone stuck in my head, then the album must have some other memorable qualities as well. I guess the staff at Decibel stopped playing Pattycake and 4-Square long enough to actually get something right. This is a great record. Nearly impossible to describe, but I’ll try. Imagine Unsane getting beat up in an alley by Eyes of Fire and Black Anvil while Godflesh is playing nearby. It’s Sludgey, it’s Doomy, there are subtle traces of both Black Metal’s fury and melancholy, there’s throwback Gothic hooks, and even an underlying mechanized Industrial vibe (yet it’s achieved naturally, by a 3-piece no less). Sorry, that’s the best I can do. A bit easier to describe the feel of the music than the style. Darkness. Tension. Misery. Hate. Sadness. Insanity. Isolation. Rage. It’s all that and more. The production, as I mentioned, is outstanding. I can’t remember a snare drum recorded so perfectly, hitting so hard that it results in involuntary twitching. Something should be said, too, for drummer Andrew Hernandez, who punishes his kit with reckless abandon with a truly remarkable less-is-more approach. If this Brooklyn trio lacks anything it’s vocal range. Mike Hill does a serviceable job with his subdued roar, also incorporating an occasional higher-pitched scream and a few clean vocal attempts, but I sense it’s still a work in progress. The vocals could also be a little higher in the mix, but I’m merely nitpicking now. Is this the Album of the Year? Not quite. But it is one damn fine piece of genre-defying dark art.

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