Monday, March 16, 2009

Tombs - Winter Hours (Relapse, 2009)

Relapse has released a solid crop of albums in 1Q09. Cerebral Metalhead will review one of them a day this week.

Ah, the sound of fulfilled potential. I was fond enough of the messy debut EP by Tombs, the Brooklyn trio fronted by Anodyne/Versoma founder Mike Hill, in the way that I was fond of, say, early Genghis Tron: the band had something, but it was just too all over the place to focus on that something. Not so with Winter Hours. Like its predecessor, Winter Hours summons thunder from several different universes of sonic abandon: the meta-crush of Neurosis, Justin Broadrick's diverse waterloggings, the noise-addled rock of Trail of Dead. This time around, Tombs have added the rhythmic overload of black metal and corralled the lot with songs that take full advantage of Hill's staggering recording. Winter Hours straps concrete shoes on even those elements of Tombs' sound that didn't need any heavifying. 

Justin Ennis's drums on "Gossamer" and "Merrimack" pound like he's playing with human femurs instead of drumsticks. Black metal has none of its necrotic overtones on "Golden Eyes" and "Filled With Secrets." Set against Hill's mile-wide guitar plumes, Ennis's blastbeats clatter and thump like a rickety wooden roller coaster, only to plunge off the rails and crash into cavernous riff fissures. That shit explodes, singes speaker cones, spills toxic guitar noise everywhere. The edges are rough, the volume barely contained on Winter Hours. Hill's pedal board turns punk into heavy punk, dirty sludge into apocalyptic pronouncements, post-metal reverb soup into insulation against the cold. The album may be called Winter Hours, but it radiates heat and power. And, if you buy a new CD copy, the booklet also radiates the most fantastic fresh ink scent.

Fulfill your potential at Tombs' MySpace page

Relapse store

Tombs On Tour:

With Pelican/Dredg
March 16 Kansas City, MO: Riot Room
March 17 Tulsa, OK: The Marquee
March 18 San Antonio, TX: Scout Bar (w/ Tricky)

With Pelican/Wolves In the Throne Room
March 19 Little Rock, AR: Vino’s
March 22 Austin, TX: Red 7
March 25 Tempe, AZ: The Sets
March 26 San Diego, CA: The Casbah
March 27 Los Angeles, CA: Troubadour
March 28 San Francisco, CA: Slim’s
March 29 Portland, OR: Hawthorne Theatre
March 30 Bellingham, WA: Nightlight Lounge
March 31 Seattle, WA: Neumo’s
April 2 Salt Lake City, UT: Club Vegas
April 3 Denver, CO: Marquis Theatre
April 5 Chicago, IL: Empty Bottle

With Black Anvil, Defeatist
April 17 Brooklyn, NY: Alligator Greenpoint

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