TombsFollowing up on the success of their Decibel magazine album of the year “The Path of Totality” in 2011, the NY based four piece Tombs return with their atmospheric blackened take on the post-metal and sludge styling’s they are well known for. This time, they have teamed up with producer Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Hate Eternal) to produce what many would say is their most extreme release to date.

Opening up with “Thanatos”, the eerie chords hauntingly ring out before the heavily distorted guitars kick in and the relentless drums overpower you with the seemingly endless assault of double kick and lightning quick drum fills and blasts. The harsh vocals followed by the sinister guitar riffs create an overwhelming sense of hopeless which is well reflected in the lyrics. “Portraits” follows and the sound is very similar to early Mayhem, with the raw fast guitars which although simple, give the impression more is going on. The melodic leads between the verses adds further to the haunting sound and the fast buzz saw like guitars in the verses with the frantic drums keeps up the ominous vibe of the album. Slowing down in the middle of the song, the lead guitar returns with a stripped back melody which allows the band to pull the song into a crushing breakdown before it trails off into a dissonant guitar lead section once more which signals the sound of something horrible coming.

That horrible thing is the following track, “Séance” which tears into life with a very Scandinavian black metal feel much like Emperor. The slightly punky drums at times, accompanied by the simple guitars carries a distinct groove which will have you nodding along with a grim look on your face as the dark feelings continue on throughout the album. The trademark furious black metal guitar sound with the harshly barked vocals leads into a pounding breakdown towards the end of the song which sets up “Echoes”. The song starts at a slow and steady pace with a simple repeating riff which builds up tension. The clean vocals sound tormented at times, giving a distressing feeling to the song whilst the drums tease of something big coming, but never quite revealing it until the 1:25 mark as the song picks up in intensity. The song switches back and forth in intensity, gradually building momentum until it unleashes it towards the end with growled vocals over the blackened-sludge styled riffs.

“Deathtripper” comes next and it starts with an evil sounding bassline accompanied by a dark sounding lead melody. The drone-like low spoken vocals with plenty of reverb add a haunting edge to the song and its steady pace continues until about four minutes into the song when the laboured screams of the vocalist kick the drums into life. The harsh tones return with the screamed vocals but the song doesn’t speed up, it just stays brutally slow and pounding. With the final screams of the word ‘Suicide’ over and over, “Edge of Darkness” comes crashing in with its full on fast paced black metal feel, giving it an almost Immortal like sound. The furious guitar solo in the intro gives way to a slightly slower paced verse which lets the guitars come through more than the drums. The song switches between this furious pace and slightly slower pace throughout until the melodic breakdown towards the end of the song, where the drummer kicks it up a gear and helps create a dramatic ending.

“Ashes” starts off quite similar to the previous track, with its fast paced intro but the vocals this time are cleaner which contrast to the murky rhythms and slightly grating lead sounds of the guitars which tease between fast and slow all song. The clean vocals give way to the screams once more as the song gets more intense and as it fades out into a sampled female chanting styled vocal sample over a simplistic haunting clean passage, the brief respite doesn’t last as “Legacy” tears back in with its frantic pace and crushing assault. The song breaks between black metal ferocity and almost punk-styled rhythms under the crushing screams towards the end.

The ambient sounding sample trails off into “Severed Lives” which has the simple haunting lead melody, slow feel bassline and clean vocals to start with, bringing the dark feeling once again. Its slow pace to begin with is a welcome break from the intensity of the previous tracks but as the song goes on, the feeling of anticipation of something big coming builds but it never quite materializes, the song just pulls you along with the despair it creates. “Spiral” closes the album and its almost as if the previous track was there to just build the anticipation of the closer. It cuts straight in at the end of the previous tracks sample and it hits full strength with the aggression and venom which has ran throughout the album.

“Savage Gold” is an album which has such an ominous sound and presence, it is hard not to get caught up in it at times and feel so overwhelmed by it. It is an hour of dark and depressing feelings with a relentless, crushing sound which creates a vast sonic landscape to get lost in. If you like your music to suck the life out of the room around you, get this album now.

(7/10 Fraggle)