Tombs – Savage Gold (Relapse Records)

Tuesday, 27th May 2014
Rating: 9/10

From the get-go of “Thanatos,” there’s a particularly ugly feeling of dread seething from every corner of Savage Gold. A very awaited follow-up to 2011’s fantastic Path Of Totality, this album is at once beholden to familiar flavors and a large amount of new experimentation. While the previous released trended very heavily toward post-black, this time around there’s a sampling of many metal flavors and while the black remains, it’s no longer the core. This is ‘post’ in a way that, realistically, could serve as a herald for others to follow.

The band, now expanded to a four piece, hits hard and extremely often. Though second ‘single’ “Deathtripper” caused some division thanks to its lengthy simmering (and very Unsane-like bass tones), eventually screams with all of the savagery for which the release is named. Sprinklings of death metal structure and feel permeate throughout, there’s less of a focus on the cloudy atmospherics of releases past and all the instrumentation is much more upfront and visceral. Experimental indulges remain, like on longer works “Echoes” and phenomenal closer “Spiral” (seriously, dat drumming). The blackened precision is tempered with a kind of murder-pit mentality that shows up to, in several places, uglify the album in the best ways imaginable.

Savage Gold is a grower, as the songs are dense and take several passes to reveal their nuances. It’s the polar opposite of what most big-name summer releases tend to be and, really, there’s nothing at all here that’s conducive to any sort of fun beneath the sun. As with Tombs’ past releases, this is a grinding, exhausting release and over the course of its hour run-time, you will find yourself on the receiving end of some dire punishment. There’s a lot of personal and earthly murk to be exercised through Savage Gold and it isn’t for the meek or inattentive.  What it is, however, is a vast and masterful experience.

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