Playing metal used to be like taking up a trade — you learn one style, maybe by apprenticeship in some dude’s garage, and keep doing it until you’ve mastered it. You don’t mix doom with grindcore. You don’t add blast beats to a thrash metal song. And if it isn’t metal at all, then you’re probably just wasting everyone’s time. But those days — thank the Dark Lord — are several decades in the rearview mirror, and the road metal’s on now has been far too rewarding to turn the damn thing around. Brooklyn’s Tombs have been blending and swirling any number of heavy sounds since their 2009 debut Winter Hours, and they’ve just about achieved perfection in their psychedelic spiral with new track “Edge of Darkness.”
A standout track on third album Savage Gold, a 10-track set with a minimum setting of “Holy Shit!”, “Edge of Darkness” is a new level of transcendence, even for a group as forward thinking as Tombs. Picking up on the blackened post-punk darkness of any number of standouts on previous album Path of Totality, this track is a launch into a rapidly spinning vortex of hallucinogenic intensity. In one moment it’s an onslaught of power-chord thrash riffs. In another it’s a high-speed plummet down a flume of psychedelic riffs. And in yet another, it’s like the most unsettling shoegaze track you’ll ever hear. Yet, for how infrequently Tombs sound like they’re willing to give the listener some breathing room, they’re also expending much of their energy on perfecting its melodies rather than merely opting for a quick and dirty bludgeon. For all of its massive sound — and for how much Tombs manage to pull off in five minutes — “Edge of Darkness” is remarkably graceful.[from Savage Gold; out June 10; Relapse]
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.