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T.O.M.B. album review – Fury Nocturnus

Harrowing rites from the basement realms of the psyche

T.O.M.B. album cover

T.O.M.B. stands for Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy, making it about the most accurately descriptive band name since Extreme Noise Terror.

Under the leadership of the enigmatic No One, this shadowy Pennsylvanian noise cult (featuring Mayhem drummer Hellhammer) have been churning out demonic black industrial ambient madness for 18 years, purportedly recording in derelict lunatic asylums, banging crypt doors with human bones, even capturing sounds at the grave of Hellhammer’s ex-bandmate Euronymous. The haunted, gargling vocals and eerie guitar drones root the album resoundingly in black metal, but it’s the fiendishly abstruse sub-basement inhabited by queasy-listening guttersnipes like Abruptum and Gnaw Their Tongues. As always with this sort of unholy cacophony, if you’re in the right mood and receptive to their oppressive atmospheres, it’s an engrossing soundscape of feverish ritualistic impulses; if you’re not, it’s a silly, patience-testing din. Trying to identify the layers of sound as they tumble and jab out of the speakers may invoke paranoia, not to mention headaches, and deep concentration through headphones might guarantee the listener a visit to the madhouses T.O.M.B. use for studios.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.