REVIEW: Tombs – Path Of Totality

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Artist: Tombs
Album: Path Of Totality
Genre: Metal
Label: Relapse

Tombs is in a band almost in a league of their own these days, as not many bands share their particular blend of metal styles. Rooted pretty deeply into the black metal sound, there are also many traces of sludge, doom, post and gothic metal tossed in the mix. Path of Totality, the band’s third record, perhaps showcases the band’s particular sound aesthetic the best, and is their longest album to date by more than twenty minutes.

Clocking in at almost an hour, Path of Totality is truly a monolithic album. For a three-piece band, they’re remarkably (and consistently) heavy. The bass on this album is about as crushing as you can have without it being almost completely incoherent, and is a great contrast to Mike Hill’s grinding guitars and roaring voice. Amidst all of this seeming chaos, the drum parts get somewhat buried at times, but aren’t very routine parts. A great mix between precise blast beats, interesting fills, infectious grooves and straight beats–it’s hard to ask for much more from a drummer.

Along with writing and performing parts reminiscent of many black metal bands in the past, the album is produced and mixed with a lot of those same values. From the first few seconds of the album you get an incredibly strong indicator of just how raw of a sound this album has. It’s super loud, filled with mids, and features a lot of the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” approach. That being said, the album has a surprising amount of dynamics when considering just how dense and raw it sounds at times.

Under-appreciated by many, the greatest part of this album is its variation. At almost fifty-eight minutes in length, this album could very easily be one of the most boring albums on the planet. If not for the sometimes subtle and sometimes extremely obvious variations in song structure, guitar work, drum patterns, and bass lines this album would be incredibly dry. Tombs have clearly realized what it takes to make a long album listenable and capitalized on it.

While Path of Totality is not really groundbreaking, it is a really solid album with lots of replay value, but I could very easily imagine anyone with a dislike of black or sludge metal having almost no interest in this album or any song within it. The real question becomes “Is this the best they’ve got or is there better yet?” It’s hard to imagine what Tombs could do better, but somehow it doesn’t feel like it’s the best they’ve got.

Score: 8/10
Review written by: Jordan Munson

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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