“Tales Of Madness”

By Lord Randall

When I spoke to WOMBBATH earlier in 2020 regarding their newest “Choirs Of The Fallen” release, the members hinted at re-recording “a song or two” (mostly from the admittedly flushable “Lavatory” EP days), because of their confidence in the new lineup being able to beef up the material. 

Now, roughly 9 months later, we have “Tales Of Madness”, a compilation of 6 (count ‘em!) reworked songs spanning the band’s career, as well as a couple new bits to let us know what they’ve been up to since Choirs… Kicking off with ¾ of the “Brutal Mights” demo, ‘Tales From The Dark Side’ definitely benefits from modern technology, yet doesn’t lose a bit of the roiling malevolence that made WOMBBATH worth a listen back in ’92 in the bargain. The same holds true for ‘Unholy Madness’, showing that - while there’ve been many changes since its fetid inception - sometimes nothing beats a look back at this time in the subgenre’s history, when geography stood a good chance of determining the sound of a group, different areas and countries putting their stamp on death.

After a glance even further in the past at the first WOMBBATH song ever, ‘The Grave’ (a rollicking romp through the tombstones, if you wondered), we revisit the latrine that was a stab at the death ‘n’ roll that, for better or worse (mostly worse), ENTOMBED ushered in with the “Hollowman” EP and “Wolverine Blues” album…and it hasn’t aged well at all. Badly written, cobbled together and annoying to hear then, it’s still painful to listen to now. 

New songs ‘Tales Of Madness’ and ‘The Fleshly Existence’ round out this just over half-hour celebration of WOMBBATH’s 30th year, both showing the quintet still riding the crest of the bloody wave that began gaining force with the last full-length. The latter, however, - with moments of actual dynamics and some of the best solo work to come from the guitarists yet – speaks of even greater things to come. Hopefully…