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Tombeau | ‘Mephistophallique’

While many will scoff at the idea of a demo getting the die-hard vinyl treatment avec sticker, patch and stitched cloth bag (!), I’m OK with getting a bit of extra bang for my buck.

Tombeau, from Québec, have recently had the facelift treatment given to their 2013 demo, ‘Méphistophallique’, and I for one am happy they did, having missed out on the original release.

And hey, say what you like about Nuclear War Now!, but they always deliver a visual feast to the hungry consumerist eye.

Trinkets aside, what we have here are four songs, and one instrumental intro, of gnarly and primitive bestial black/death metal that, nonetheless, fixes its beady eyes on matters of a more transcendental persuasion. I don’t know why, but as much as I love to have my mind warped by strange, left-of-centre chaotic music, I always return to the filthy fix sooner or later.

Cloaked In Dirt

Think mid-paced to fast-ish droning riffage cloaked in dirt and gloom, knocking around the lower end of the fretboard. Some tactful, atmospheric keys and monkish chanting dotted throughout add a funereal pallor and bring much character to the songs.

The riffs, while simplistic, have brainpower behind them and sound crafted. The drums have a clear and roomy production that cuts through the murk to deliver power and muscle. The vocals are a rotten smudge transmitted from somewhere down below.

There has been a bit of a mini-explosion of this style of hypnotic filth in recent times so while Grave Miasma might be mentioned as a loose point of references, more accurately we are in the realms of the likes of 13th Moon, Infra, Sartegos and Harvest Gulgaltha.

That steady balance between slimy, gutter-bound filth and, perhaps, some kind of spiritual awareness/awakening seems to be the aim.

Limited By Goats

The goats and gasmasks angle, while certainly having its place, has proven to be fairly limiting in the long run so this development is a logical step forward, and one that works for me.

That extra bit of dynamic accentuates the primitive side while adding enough to the formula to give it space to breath and potentially grow.

The fade-out on final track, ‘Cérémonie des Liches’ really highlights the effectiveness of that unholy union, merging the two different faces of the band’s style and elevating Tombeau to a higher plane than the goatly herd.

A simplistic doomy riff draped in a hypnotic Burzum-esque keyboard run highlights the genius lying at the beast’s wild heart, and it opens new gates, new portals ripe for exploration.

This is very much for genre nerds but if rotten, abysmal black/ death is your thing, this is a short sharp shock of funereal ugliness that is well worth your time.

3.5/5 – Andrew Cunningham ::: 28/06/15

  1. Deadly.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    This trend of releasing half decent but nothing special bands on die hard vinyl is getting stupid !!! 20 quid for 15 mins of mid table music !!! Nah thanks

  3. Eoin McLove Says:

    There is no winning, though. If they released it on tape only there would be someone ready to call them elitist assholes. The quality of the music lies in the ear of the beholder so who is to judge what is or isn’t worthy? The label putting up the cash to have it produced? The person willing to pay for it? Someone who finds it mediocre and wouldn’t be arsed downloading it?

  4. This was a good review McLove. I too sometimes feel irked by the demo-to-vinyl phenomenon. However, if I like it a lot and I know it has a decent sound for vinyl (not a boombox uber lo-fi recording) and with a good layout/design, why not? Bolzer ‘Roman Acupuncture’ Check! Yup, I’ll take that (and I did, even though I have the first round of cassettes too). This demo, yup, cause I think the music is dark and evil as hell and has a touch of uniqueness to it. BTW, this is a grower of sorts. It took several spins before I really starting feeling its power.

    Some demos are just better on cassette, and not meant for any other format. BUT! that ultimately is for you to decide. To dish $$ or not to Dish?

  5. Oh, and this demo that was reviewed sound fucking excellent on wax! Get it!

  6. i think this is decent enough for the whole package

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