Tombs - The Grand Annihilation album review

NY’s experimental black metal crew throw in some more shades

Cover art for Tombs - The Grand Annihilation album

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Those following Brooklyn’s Tombs over the past decade will be aware of the quality and consistency with which they have employed influences from shoegaze, goth and death rock in conjunction with black metal. Their fourth full-length solidifies those frames of reference, effectively moving them into their own unique territory and further away from the ‘post-metal’ misnomer. A slinky, creepy feeling permeates the essence of dynamic lead-off trackBlack Sun Horizon and its follow-up, Cold, which riffs like Celtic Frost butting heads with Fields Of The Nephilim. The most obvious display of any increased use of those outside influences, though, comes with guitarist Mike Hill’s vocal performance. Clean vocals are nothing new to Tombs, but Hill now incorporates an aristocratic and bold contralto that sounds positively vampiric. It contrasts well with his tortured screams in epic closer Temple Of Mars, despite his still displaying a nervous weakness when it comes to breaking beyond staid phrasing and pattern placement.