2016 : Peaceville
Format : LP/CD
Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy, or TOMB as they are commonly known, have been creating their own strain of noisy, Blackened electronic desecrations for nearly 20 years now. After a slew of releases on various formats and a myriad of independent labels, this latest offering on Peaceville marks the culmination of those previous works. While the elusive No One remains the core of this behemoth, the project now includes consorts B. Zimimay and Samantha Viola. This release also features a few noted visitors: Grant Richardson of the Power Electronic juggernaut Gnawed, Gorephobia guitarist John Litchko and none other than Mayhem drummer and Black Metal legend Hellhammer. The album artwork was created by Watain’s Erik Danielsson. That’s a pretty fucking impressive guest list.
From the ominous album opener Into Wotan Flames, the listener is subjected to subterranean rumbles and sinister strains like a heat blast from the tunnels of Mordor. It’s less recording and more summoning, an intoning of some ancient and obscure shadowy rite. As well it should, as the album was created not only with the inclusion of it’s esteemed guests and traditional instrumentation, but also a myriad of sorcerous field recording techniques: cemetery crypt doors, coffins, tombstones, EVP equipment as well as human and animal bones.
The record seems to alternate between ritual-soaked ambient tracks like the opener mentioned above and the more rhythmic, traditionally structured songs (if anything TOMB does resembles convention). There’s the freeform madness of Awake, Death Tunnel Scars, Belial, Portal 502, Mystic Blood Scrying and Battle Winds Of Desecration taking a more experimental approach. These are noisier, more akin to old school Industrial and contemporary Power Electronics. Then there’s the more calculated and measured approach of DARKNESS, Glorious Triumphant, Ignite The Torch Again, Hordes Rise Now, Oblivion Dawn and Fury Nocturnus, but this structure relinquishes none of the over-the-top aggression and ruination that permeates the entire record. I’d also like to mention there’s a bonus track on the CD, Abysmal Channeling, which is featured in the video below. You win, I bought both.
This is an album that seethes from start to finish, relentless in its malevolence. Lots of bands throw around the “Blackened” descriptor like it’s the underground equivalent of “Organic”, but rarely do they live up to their own hype. Many just end up a caricature of those who preceded them, a trendy design, mass produced for Hot Topic Satanists. TOMB are one of the few projects out there that make me genuinely uncomfortable. And it’s a subtle uneasiness, like a shadow flickering at the corners of your vision.
And I like it.
I’d also like to mention for those that may not know, this same demented trio also moonlight as the infernal Blues Folk project Dreadlords. Check out their amazing 2014 album “Death Angel” on TJ Cowgill’s (King Dude) label Not Just Religious Music.