Released: 2014, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
It feels like it’s been ages since NYC’s Tombs released PATH OF TOTALITY. The reality is that it’s only been a few years, but maybe that feeling of absence has something to do with the quality of the band’s wares. The band’s integration of black metal, proto-industrial, and general tomes of extremity make for an end result that sounds entirely unique and unapologetic, both being pretty redeeming qualities today. Not to be outdone by its predecessor, SAVAGE GOLD shows Tombs adding a second guitarist to their ranks and shaking loose some of the shackles of familiarity that fans have become accustomed to. While some might read that and cry “HERESY!”, these 10 new tracks collectively make for the heaviest and most engaging Tombs record yet.
The thing that immediately sticks out with SAVAGE GOLD is how much earthier the album sounds compared to previous releases. While the traditional Tombs sound has basically been discordant, jangly riffs saturated with reverb and effects, SAVAGE GOLD sounds more like four guys in a rehearsal room with the amps cranked to 12 beating the hell out of their instruments; definitely more of a straightforward approach here. But the songs sound nothing short of immense, and you really get a feel for what the band is doing musically. “Thanatos” opens the album and is a quick cue of what’s to follow, sounding like a meatier cousin to Wolves in the Throne Room or Agalloch. “Portraits” and “Séance” have probably the most organic black metal DNA in their beings, while tracks like “Deathtripper” and “Severed Lives” step back in time to the Tombs sound of old, opting for a more mechanically cold doom drone. Packed in between is a cadre of heavy hitters that will push your grandmother down a flight of stairs and then smack you upside the head for stopping to ask if she’s okay.
The common theme across SAVAGE GOLD is outright aggression. It’s a mean sounding album and band sounds furious tearing into each track. If you’ve cut your teeth on either their previous full lengths or various splits/comps, there may be a bit of an adjustment period to wrap your head around what you’re hearing. But once you get past that, it’s an amazing listen that demands repeated listens. SAVAGE GOLD releases on June 10th via Relapse Records, don’t miss this one.