TOMBS “Ex Oblivion”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The always busy Mike Hill and TOMBS are back it with this patchwork EP designed to tide us over until the next TOMBS full-length, which I’m sure won’t be long. An EP can often be a repository for songs that don’t quite fit whatever the current album is and that’s pretty much what “Ex Oblivion” is. Some aspects of this are highly experimental and I don’t think all the experiments work.

The title track demonstrates Hill’s love of the Gothic and post-punk subgenres. The spooky Goth feel of this song is easy to spot, but beefed up with more metal guitars. It’s heavy enough but not what I would call a rager. Next we have some covers, starting with a crack at MOTÖRHEAD’s “Killed By Death”. It’s a very faithful and rocking cover and let’s face it, this song is pretty hard to screw up. Then we get a scorching version of G.G. ALLIN’s “Commit Suicide” and this one is short, fast and super mean. Also not a typical subject for a cover.

Then things start to get weird. We get a “RKGD Audio” remix of the TOMBS number “Somber Ruins, Nothing Remains” and this is reworked into a completely electronic soundscape with elements of both ambient and techno. I like the occasional dive into these realms and this comes across as engaging, but definitely not something one associates with TOMBS. The last cut is a new song “Murder Legendre” (named after Lugosi’s character in “White Zombie”) and things badly fall off the rails here. It’s a dull and plodding cut based on the simplest and most elementary rhythms and tones. Combined with a monotone spoken word delivery, it’s designed to be spooky, but just seems lazy and stereotypical, especially the boring spoken words, which are just exactly what you’d expect some glum Goth kid to come up with. A bad misfire here.

While this has some definite moments of interest, I wouldn’t say this is essential TOMBS by any stretch.