Tombs - Winter Hours

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"“All aboard the Relapse Records train, picking up as many Neurosis soundalikes as possible”, is what I would be spouting if it weren’t for Tombs latest assault on the ears. Fortunately, Winter Hours brings much more to the table than my statement would lead you to believe. Relapse Records has been stunning the metal community with its seemingly endless list of artists on the edge of outdoing most of their counterparts in the genre. Add Tombs to this ever growing list of artists on the label and also add Winter Hours to your “best of” for 2009 as well.

Incorporating and amalgamating more genres than I can count, Winter Hours in many ways represents the face of metal today. No one has to take a close look at the large number of bands today to realize that most metal bands on the scene are absolute genre shape-shifters of sorts. Tombs follows this trend with open arms, but instead makes everything feel fresh again (even their Neurosis impersonations). Earth splitting riffs, noisy post metal interludes, intense moments of black metal and hardcore are rarely utilized this well and songs such as ‘Golden Eyes’, ‘Merrimack’ and ‘Filled With Secrets’ capitalize on using these elements to create some of the most memorable moments of any new metal bands as of recently (Withered comes to mind but don’t quite pull it off as pristine as these guys). Vocally, Mike Hill (also performing all guitars and production on this album) powerfully belts out in his best hardcore voice while also dipping a bit into the Aaron Turner gruff vocals of Isis. Winter Hours is also lyrically bleak with poetry about the end of days, nightmares, and the reality of death that wholly completes the music/ album.

Tombs self-titled album (2007) tinkered with post-hardcore and Winter Hours finds the band taking well-aged ideas and building strongly on what has already been done before. Registering in at a mere 37 minutes, this is blackened-post metal that someone not too fond of the genres can swallow easily. Nothing overplays here; everything is memorable right down to the last second and I couldn’t have it any other way considering you’re smashing head first into great ideas that have been toyed with before. Winter Hours will tide over fans of Neurosis until the mighty godfathers of post metal drop another atom bomb on the world.


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