Tomb of Finland – Across the Barren Fields (Uprising! Records)

Monday, 22nd August 2022
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Together for over a decade, Tomb of Finland issues a third studio album for Across the Barren Fields as they continue to strengthen a doom/death metal style with plenty of melancholic, melodic touches. Featuring members/ex-members of groups like Charon, Cartilage, Enochian Crescent, and Elvenscroll, the quintet is well equipped to create material that entails somber atmosphere, aggression next to catchy musical parts, plus vocals that are gruff and gritty, ensuring an experience that haunts the listener like the tales from the grave that these musicians favor lyrically.

Finnish musicians in the metal realm expertly execute parts that contain finesse with focus – versatility in terms of the riffs, transitions, and dynamic impact that happens track to track, where things can be heavy yet magical. You can have circular runs against some speedy semi-blasting death measures just like old school Sunlight Studios days for “Perpetual Entombment”, then bring in more epic, swinging tempos for “Wretched Bliss” where the guitar melodies and intertwined male/female growls to clean chorus heighten the rich riffs, the subtle keyboard use poignant next to the slower, ever-evolving lead break. The contrasts allow for some spine-tingling sequences to occur – “Nightfall” a second half standout, where vocalist Olli Suvanto slithers in and out of measures between quieter growls for the verses into deeper bellows for the heavier chorus payoff while guitarists Jasse Von Hast and Mikko Hannuksela unfurl a bevy of memorable melodic death/doom parts. At other times the straightforward rhythm section work at mid-tempo pacing gives the robust axe passages even more girth, and dare this scribe say darker groove, during “Coffin Bound” – although drummer Janne Lukki adds a couple of swift fill moments that mesmerize.

By the time “In Memoriam” closes the record as a two-minute, three second funeral-like instrumental piece, listeners will be mopping tears (or sweat) from their faces, as this contains qualities followers into Barren Earth and Swallow the Sun live for. Tomb of Finland is another solid act to rely upon if you dig Scandinavian qualities within the doom/death landscape – as Across the Barren Fields captures the five-piece in convincing fashion for possibly the best effort to date from the band.

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