Tombs – Under Sullen Skies
“Under Sullen Skies” is Tombs’ fifth album and first for Season of Mist after the “Monarchy of Shadows” EP from back in February. The band’s original plan was to be on the road for most of the year with Napalm Death but unfortunately, that couldn’t happen due to the pandemic.
Tombs was founded in 2007 by Mike Hill, who among others has collaborated with ISIS in their early days as a sound engineer. Till recently it has been pretty much his solo project with many bandmates coming and going, but since 2018 there’s been a steady line-up that also contributed to the songwriting in “Under Sullen Skies”. They fit under the post-black metal category with sludge and hardcore influences along with some subtle gothic touches.
‘Bone Furnace’, ‘Void Constellation’ and ‘Barren’’s blast beats and pounding rhythm makes clear that this is a heavy record and that it has some catchy riffs. For the most part, you can clearly say they are from the States though there is some unexpected European flavour at times. While you would expect from a post black metal band to be gearing more towards the post elements, Tombs seem to me like it’s the opposite, a black metal band who tries to enrich their sound with outside influences.
Tombs – The Hunger (click here if the video doesn’t play)
Nothing sounds out of place though as everything is well adapted to their sound. That is most evident on ‘Secrets of the Black Sun’ with its slow tempo and some Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy vibes, which doesn’t feel like it seems out of place on this album. The same applies also to songs like ‘Sombre Ruin’, a song you could otherwise find in a Doom metal album, or ‘The Hunger’ with catchy riffs influenced by horror soundtracks and guest vocals by Dwid Hellion from metalcore band Integrity, who sounds a lot like Lemmy. There’s a plethora of other guest artists on the release, Ray Suhy (Six Feet Under) and Todd Stern from Psycroptic playing a guitar solo on ‘Barren’ and ‘Mordum’ respectively, Paul Delaney from Black Anvil on ‘Angel of Darkness’ and more.
Tombs – Barren (click here if the video doesn’t play)
Overall it’s an enjoyable album especially for fans of the genre, or anyone who likes blasting music but nothing too exceptional for everyone else. Fans of the band won’t be disappointed at all because while it is a step forward and has some experimentation, it doesn’t stray too much from their previous output.
- Bone Furnace
- Void Constellation
- The Hunger
- Secrets of the Black Sun
- We Move Like Phantoms
- Lex Talionis
- Angel of Darkness
- Sombre Ruin
- Plague Years