The filth and scum of death metal’s past, be it in North America or in Europe, has died down over time. Not that there hasn’t been a lot of really good death the past decade or so, but the polished, pristine stuff has set about launching air fresheners to lift the stench. That’s a shame. I can handle the gag now and again, and luckily, there remain bands willing to make this awful again.
Canadian duo Tomb Mold are working hard to make sure death metal remains repugnant and brutal. You can tell from the name alone that these guys—guitarist/bassist Derrick Vella and drummer/vocalist Max Klebanoff—have their decaying hearts in the right place, and their debut full-length record “Primordial Malignity” is a powerful, heavy reminder that when death metal is really good, it can disease your entire body. The band first grabbed people’s attention on their well-respected demos “The Bottomless Perdition” and “The Moulting,” and they’ve aligned with the mighty Blood Harvest for the release of this new eight-track, 32-minute mauler. The press materials accompanying the record call the album a “love letter to ’90s Finnish death metal,” and I really can’t think of a better way to sum up what you’ll hear here. It’s a great listen, and it’s highly recommended.
“Intro – Inside They Grow” gets things started with a strange noise haze, but that gets blown to bits not long afterward, as the band mauls forward with an assault that sounds designed to crush bones. Gurgling growls and thrashy guitar work form the backbone, while guitars spiral and things come to an abrupt end. “Coincidence of Opposites” has twisting riffs and a confounding pace, twisting your brain connections and veins. Grinding howls and clobbering playing up the ante, while the back end seems to gnaw at your festering wounds, with Klebanoff’s growls hurling insults. “Bereavement of Flesh” has some pretty tasty riffs out front, and there are parts of this thing that are actually catchy. Imagine that. The band keeps chugging away, letting everything bleed. The title cut is thrashy and menacing, bringing with it a cloud of ugliness that emerges and unleashes the darkening. A punchy groove adds more meat to the bones, while the growls are gurgly and ugly.
“Merciless Watcher” has riffs spiraling and causing vertigo, while the playing rolls ominously, and the bulk of this situated in bloody filth. Strong leads cut out from there, as you get the sense they’re dragging a dripping body toward a shallow grave. “Clockwise Metamorphosis” blasts open, as the tempo twitches, and the melodies roil. The vocals sound like they’re boiling in mucus, as soloing goes off the rails and brings the thing to a stabbing end. “Twisted Trail” is a dose of lurching death, though that later explodes and brings with it total destruction. The vocals sound like they’re trying to rip apart Klebanoff’s windpipe, while later the music trudges through mud, and the guitar ignite the torches. Closer “Vernal Grace – Outro” begins heavy as fuck, as the band unloads all their gruesome weapons. The guitars dominate, while the growls are ugly and smearing. The tempo is compelling and driving, bringing your blood pressure to head, but then it all disappears into a similar sound cloud that greeted us at the start of the album, as all semblance of consciousness fades away.
Tomb Mold seem on the cusp of becoming one of the bands standing at the front of the pack of keeping death metal crushing and true. They could be a name that rises rapidly to the top of the scum pool going forward if they keep making records as good as “Primordial Malignity.” Everything here is honest and disgusting, a heavy bashing that rubs your face in the dirt and forces you to take a deep breath of the accumulating molds. Nausea and panic are the side effects, but I’m thinking most people won’t mind.
For more on the band, go here: https://tombmold.bandcamp.com/releases
To buy the album (CD), go here: http://shop.bloodharvest.se/?product=tomb-mold-primordial-malignity-cd
And here (vinyl edition): http://shop.bloodharvest.se/?product=tomb-mold-primordial-malignity-12lp
For more on the label, go here: http://www.bloodharvest.se/