On their new full-length, Brooklyn, NY's Tombs continue down the path they've set for themselves with their previous work. But exactly what that path is, well, that's anyone's guess: blackened sludge? Atmospheric doom? Urban black? Maybe a bit of all of those, except nowhere near as wimpy as anything called "atmospheric" usually is. The band's hometown seeps through their sound, even when things start to get blackened, as on "To Cross the Land." Elsewhere, there are elements of apocalyptic crust ("Black Hole of Summer"), and metalgaze that doesn't suck ("Bloodletters"). "Constellations" highlights the near-sloppy playing and the raw production, both of which suit this band's prickly, antisocial demeanour, while "Red Shadows" showcases riffs that are about as heavy as they come. The only bummer is the "spooky, morose guy" vocals sprinkled throughout the disc, which come across as a little cheesy. Definitely heavy, definitely dipping into many genres, Path of Totality is interesting, enjoyable and sonically oppressive in all the best ways, showing the band progressing by being even more focused and well structured than on previous efforts, which were already very impressive to begin with.
The album sounds more focused and refined.
Guitarist/vocalist Mike Hill: We spent a lot more time on the pre-production, doing demos and individual rehearsals. We had a lot more time to work on the material for Path of Totality; I think it was close to two years.
Lots of bands say they don't fit in but they just sound like a million other acts. You guys really don't fit in. How much of that is a concerted effort and how much is natural?
We just write songs. Whatever emotions we feel come out in the songs. There's no actual game plan except to be as honest with our feelings as possible.
To me, the fact that you guys live in NYC really comes through in your music. Do you agree?
I don't think living in NYC really impacts us on a creative level. Except for maybe older bands like Swans or Cop Shoot Cop, I don't really feel like the NYC scene has been an influence on Tombs.
What kind of atmosphere do you want your music to convey?
I want our music to convey feelings of raw emotion and intensity. For the most part, I think it succeeds. (Relapse)