Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tombstones: Year of the Burial (2012)

Wizard, Without Electricity

Jus Oborn totally pulls off the silk scarf. Wearing it, the Electric Wizard mastermind looks like an eccentric cult leader from the 1960's or a Satanic bon vivant. It doesn't hurt that he's surrounded by people who look like Anton LaVey, Jinx Dawson, and a dude that's going to do the hands-on part of a human sacrifice. They look like some kind of comic book supervillain ensemble. In a promo photo, Norway's Tombstones is apparently trying to pull of the same thing. One of them--presumably frontman Bjørn-Viggo Godtland--is trying the silk scarf look. But he comes off like he just disembarked from his yacht. And the other two look like unremarkable, regular metal dudes. I don't ordinarily bring up image, but I mention this comparison for a reason.

Everything about Year of the Burial sounds like an attempt at being Electric Wizard. And, like the aforementioned scarf, most of these attempts end up missing the mark. Listening to "Quintessential" or "Egypt," it's impossible not to think that the Wizard has done the exact same songs before (several times), and done them with much more style and feeling. Opener "Unveiling" sounds almost like one of EW's boring interludes between the crushing heaviness. In other words, Tombstones sounds like Electric Wizard if they had more weed than they're accustomed to, and started playing while completely zoned out.

This is not to say that they do everything poorly. "Silent Voice" is much more energetic, and when the bass jumps to the front of the riff it's a nice twist. The title track crams a lot more notes into a riff that, somehow, still seems like it's going real slow.

This sounds like a debut album. After all, the band shows some signs of promise despite a largely failed attempt to emulate a better-known group. How many debuts are like that? But the truth is, this is their third record.

The Verdict: I'm sure these guys are cool dudes, and they do this for the love of music. Hipsters don't have any interest in plain old stoner doom, after all. I just hope that they're satisfied doing it for love. I give Year of the Burial 2 out of 5 stars.

Soulseller Records

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