Friday, August 12, 2011

Tombs: Path of Totality (2011)


Tombs is possibly the most divisive band in extreme music. On the one hand, they are the darlings of all the critics, many of whom reserved a space for Path of Totality on their end-of-year lists before they even heard it. On the other hand, you have the silent genre nazis (like the people at Metal Archives) who off-handedly dismiss it as "not metal"--or the loud genre nazis who insult the band every chance they get.

Path Of TotalityThe truth is, I'm not sure what's not to like. The music can most succinctly be described as blackened sludge metal, not unlike Withered (who have gotten a whole lot of love for their album last year). Yes, there's a lot of hardcore in here, but that's implicit in sludge metal. Likewise, the long-running love/hate relationship between punk and black metal hardly needs expounded upon.

The bottom line for Path of Totality is this: realized potential. Since Tombs came on the scene, music writers have seen the potential in them, and have talked about it to no end. They have now been proven correct. The band has fully formed their sound: hardcore drumming, sludge metal sound, black metal riffing, plenty of dissonant atmosphere, and Mike Hill uses a wide range of hardcore and sludge metal vocal styles. The for-fans-of list is a long one: Withered, Ulcerate, Neurosis, Deathspell Omega, and many more.

The Verdict: I'm not sure it's going to end up on my own end-of-year list, but Path of Totality makes a solid case for the existence of Tombs. Atmosphere, anger, and engaging drums earn 4.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. I wish I liked this more than I do. Mike Hill seems like a great guy, and in theory the idea of hardcore plus Black Metal sounds right up my street, but I just can't find anything on this disc to reel me in. If you say it's that good, though, then I'll give it another chance.

  2. It's better than Winter Hours. I thought that one hit the mark in a couple places, but didn't really deliver on the promise, so to speak. This does, and I found a lot of it to be catchy.

  3. I don't care for Tombs. I don't really know why, I do like Ulcerate and Withered, but Tombs just does not do it for me. I don't really like Neurosis either.