Tombs - Winter Hours

Formed by underground veteran Mike Hill (whose past credits include Anodyne and Versoma) less than two years ago, US trio Tombs has already made a reputation for themselves as one of the most interesting and audacious acts of today’s post-metal/sludge scene. “Winter Hours” their Relapse Records debut will surely do nothing less than strengthen their rise in popularity as it will hardly disappoint anyone already familiar with their sonority.
The ten tracks on “Winter Hours” contain a much broader range of textures and pace than their self-titled debut, resulting in a more entertaining and eclectic sonority that owes as much to Neurosis-inspired hypnotic heaviness as to raw and filthy Norse black-metal. It’s exactly here that relies the most striking change to the band’s sound in the new album as there’s a wealthy dose of black-metal riffing permeating Hill’s guitar playing that gives “Winter Hours” a whole different and malicious atmosphere than Tombs has ever exhibited before. Second theme “Golden Eyes” is a shinning example of such heightened emphasis on black-metal with drummer Justin Ennis firing away furious blast-beats and Hill adopting a more caustic and faster riff-style that perfectly counterbalances his denser and Godflesh-influenced playing.
As stated before there’s a great diversity of style here and “Merrimack” my favourite song from the entire album sees Tombs leaning towards a more harmonious and hazed atmosphere, with a warm and haunting tone creeping in the guitars that brings memories of Justin Broadrick’s work with Jesu.
Another noticeable change is just how diverse and interesting the vocal performance of Hill has become. The inclusion of a deep, almost clean vocal-style close to Jaz Coleman from Killing Joke (clearly apparent on “Divide”), in addition to his more typical enraged roars and screams makes the whole experience a lot more interesting and compelling.
Tombs is definitely a band on the rise and although “Winter Hours” is not a perfect album it clearly proves that the best of them is yet to come.

Band info:
Label info: