Tombs – Winter Hours

Tombs – Winter Hours (Relapse)

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Mike Hill is one of the obscure, invisible players in musical underground; he is also the guy responsible for the creation of Anodyne, who released exclusively great records, and Versoma, who didn’t fare quite so well. Hill continues as producer and founder of Black Box Productions, only to create Tombs a little later. This is their second release in Relapse, and they have so outdistanced their previous self that it took me a while to realize that it’s Hill’s band we’re talking about.

I confess I was taken aback with the direction the trio has taken, in the beginning. Their sound is thicker, the space the instruments claim in the final mix is different, and the general aural quality isn’t high-key but jarring. Of course, the bigger difference with their previous release is the change of style. That is, for example, Hill as the vocalist still uses shouts but now they’re more sentimental, and that is communicated in the whole of each song. Moreover, the changes he tries in his singing are very functional and serve the rest of the composition exactly as they should.

Now, more than ever, black metal touches make their appearance without even bothering to be disguised – and these are these touches that make “Winter Hours” a great record. The speed plays a part in that, and if Tombs wanted to claim new levels of harshness, they surely achieved them, because despite the changes of style (you can even find some shoegaze in there) the product is fundamentaly metal.

It pleased me to see that a guy like Mike Hill, who used to play cracked-up hardcore (e.g. Anodyne) is now busy with more extreme ends BUT in the same nuts state-of-mind. It looks like a challenge, and as far as I’m concerned he emerges a definite winner. And I’m pleased even more because a challenge like that produces great results, like “Winter Hours”. There are many times that, when I listen to it, I’m thinking that this is what the shoegaze scene would like to be, or the way that Jesu should be playing. What can you do though, Tombs play on a field of their own. Amen.

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~ by Θ. on 2009/03/17.

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