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