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Tombs - The Grand Annihilation Award winner

The Grand Annihilation
by Chen May at 03 September 2017, 9:07 PM

TOMBS’ music can hardly be categorized into one single subgenre. The Brooklyn-based outfit has never shied away from experimenting with different categories of Metal. Borrowing elements from various subgenres - including the bleakness of Black Metal, the impending despair of Doom Metal and dusting it with a tinge of Gothic Metal and Punk - the result is an amalgamation of musical characteristics that is “The Grand Annihilation”.

The opening double bass drums of “Black Sun Horizon” clash with uninhibited ferocity. Tempo shifts are ever-present within this piece, where the initial onslaught of guitar riffs and bass hooks slow down for a calmer approach, only to regain its prior viciousness with Mike’s deliverance of powerful gutturals. Although not as aggressive as its predecessor, “Cold” still sports a solidly intense melody combined with raging vocals. The occasional screams that are thrown into the mix add to the harshness of the song, and the repeatedly evocative growls of “Tear away the veil” make for a solid finish to this track. The aggression of “Black Sun Horizon” is re-incarnated in the form of “Old Wounds”, a tune that similarly channels the same invasive ambience of the first track. The repetitive riffs in “November Wolves” lend a hint of catchiness to it, but what makes it noteworthy is the combination of growls and cleans in its composition. As the song nears its end, Mike’s growls gradually evolve into devilish Black Metal shrieks, which are a stark contrast to the soothing clean vocals accompanying his voice. I particularly adore the hardened yet bleak atmosphere that is portrayed in this track, and the Black Metal flavor simply enhances such ambience.

“Underneath” witnesses the generous use of Mike’s deep, husky cleans. Despite his somewhat limited range when it comes to performing cleans, he manages to pull this song off quite well, creating a track that radiates desolation and despair. “Way Of The Storm” is layered with unforgivingly thunderous drumming and in-your-face growls and screams. However, the clean vocals in the middle of the track could have been improved, for they sound rather monotonous. Presented entirely in clean vocals, “Saturnalian” exudes a sense of calmness (a bizarre comment for an Extreme Metal production) in part due to the presence of down-tempo, Doom Metal-esque riffs and bass lines. The Doom Metal-influenced “Temple Of Mars” is a dynamic composition that features double bass drumming, tempo changes and vicious growls, which make for an appropriate closing track, ending the artistic chaos that is “The Grand Annihilation”.

TOMBS’ latest production is atmospheric, abrasive and above all, masterful. The clever mixture of different styles of Metal, the solid performance of the band’s musicians and the juxtaposition of guttural and clean vocals make for a record that is hellishly enjoyable and memorable. “The Grand Annihilation” has definitely earned its place as one of the most unforgettable albums of 2017. It certainly lives up to its name as it annihilates every single listener in its path with the relentless savagery and ferocity that cloaks the entire production.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

  1. Black Sun Horizon
  2. Cold
  3. Old Wounds
  4. November Wolves
  5. Underneath
  6. Way of the Storm
  7. Shadows at the End of the World
  8. Walk With Me in Nightmares
  9. Saturnalian
  10. Temple of Mars
Mike Hill – Vocals/Guitars
Ben Brand – Bass
Charlie Schmid – Drums
Evan Void – Guitars
Fade Kainer – Synths/Vocals
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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