"Savage Gold"

By Lord Randall

2009’s "Winter Hours" was the first time I’d heard from NYC’s Tombs, curling its scraggy-haired fingers tendril-like around the margins of the post-name-that-genre scene with a sound that – while influenced by Neurosis, by BLUT AUS NORD’s early/mid-00’s material (see "The Work Which Transforms God"), was nowhere near similar enough to be called a carbon copy, or even an attempt at approaching. Instead, Tombs was – and has become over the past 2 albums, leading into "Savage Gold" – reaching for something more its own.

Erik Rutan’s production lends the proceedings a deathstyle ferocity missing from most bands of this ilk. HULL and PELICAN are all well and good, but TOMBS is a "snarling from the cavern of ‘Thanatos" beast, all burled, jacked and ready to mangle. ‘Portraits’ throbs like a slit jugular, bass-heavy and esophagus-wounding vocals, but even the hypnotic, sludge-tinged ‘Echoes’ does nothing to prepare you for the Goya-esque monstrosity that is ‘Deathtripper’. All bloody walls and primal rhythm, this near-centerpiece of "Savage Gold" is the gravedust covered, worm-eaten skull on the poker table during a game night with FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY and COP SHOOT COP. ‘Edge Of Darkness’ is transcendent yet far from transparent. You’re falling into darkness, and TOMBS is there to guide you. The tempo of "Savage Gold" fluctuates, maybe even moreso than NEUROSIS between crippling sloth and rabid juggernaut, the quartet seeming at home in all areas, in all shades of black.

Seen on its own, "Savage Gold" may seem like just another metalgaze (Goat, how I do hate that term!) album, but when compared to the glut of “different all the same” bands populating the pages of Decibel these days, you begin to see how truly different TOMBS are.