Ten From the Tomb 2/18/19: Thawing thy deepest, stinking rot.

TEN FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a themed list devoted to grouping together albums of similar interest that I missed throughout the year 2019. These albums were overlooked for review for any number of reasons with the most common reason being constraints of time. I have a policy of covering 99% of everything I receive in some form, be it mini-review or full-feature, so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way.

Here I present a ten album sampler of some of the best sludge and/or doom and extreme doom metal from late 2018 and early 2019. Consider it a soundtrack to accompany the realization that the thaw of an unusually intense Winter will be met with a more intense firestorm soon enough. Our environment is failing around us. Most of these albums made it here to Ten From the Tomb because I couldn’t manage the time for a long-form review or because I really didn’t have more than a paragraph or two worth of insight beyond banal description. If you’re not into the selection this week, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with 10 more albums from different styles, genres, themes, etc.

Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be shit just because I am not doing full reviews for these releases! I always have some quality control in mind and looked for expressive, meaningful or just damn heavy releases that hold value without gimmickry or bland plagiarism. This weeks picks essentially came from simple not being in the mood to do extensive reviews of very long doom/sludge records in the early months of 2019, especially in the absence of anything truly special if I’m being completely honest. I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate the friendly and positive interactions I’ve had with all thus far. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. I’m too old and bored with people to care.


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Artist Hollow Leg
Title [Type/Year] Civilizations [Full-length/2019]
Rating [3.25/5.0] LISTEN on Spotify!

Although you’re gonna feel the post-Sleep ‘The Art of Self Defense’ era of High on Fire from the get-go Jacksonville, Florida sludge/doom metal hybrid Hollow Leg don’t venture into the more obvious Pike-isms as say, Firebreather or Black Cobra might. If you grew up listening to Victory Records stuff as a teenager/young adult like I did you might be jazzed to know that  Hollow Leg features three members of Bloodlet, a fantastically doomed ‘thinking mans’ Integrity-ish metalcore group from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. In case the metalcore mention scared you away, they’ve also played in Demon Lung and Junior Bruce and you’ll hear those heavy stoner doom metal vibes throughout. Nothing new but chock full of good, hearty post-millennium doom sounds.


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Artist Norilsk
Title [Type/Year] Weepers of the Land [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Québecois project Norilsk have developed an increasingly distinct sound across the span of three full-lengths as they’ve taken their taste in European rock music and applied it to their doom and extreme metal influenced sound. ‘Weepers of the Land’ shows capability ranging from non-Gothic early Paradise Lost towards pure melodic death/doom but they’re impossible to compare with most bands that’d come to mind thanks to the aforementioned rock sensibilities. Their cover of Mylene Farmer‘s “Tomber 7 Fois” illuminates the process and illustrates the inherent ‘musical’ value of their own songwriting. This is a good introduction the bands sound as it is relatively succinct (33 mins.) in showcasing their doom, melodic death/doom and post-metal tendencies.


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Artist Sol
Title [Type/Year] Before We Disappear [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If you’d had the dishonor of missing the first six full-lengths from death/doom project Sol you might find great value in experiencing Danish musician Emil Sol Brahe’s descent unto dark ambient fueled extreme doom metal in its entirety before fully appreciating ‘Before We Disappear’. This seventh album finds Brahe growling beneath the waves, like a late 90’s Neurosis record, roaring farewell to humanity with shuddering guitars and explosive dark ambient storms erupting below. ‘Before We Disappear’ is an experience of patience and thoughtful immersion, a loosening of hope and a romantic gesture towards the horror of our impending doom. There is a small return to the sort of post-death/doom style Sol found mid-career but the focus of the project has long shifted towards that dark ambient influenced sound. It’ll most likely appeal to fans of the darkest forms of post-metal while death/doom purists will have to focus on atmospheric value rather than riffs to find anything they might cling to. The first three tracks, if played in succession, really do represent a pool of brilliantly ominous sound design and the feeling of extreme doom is communicated even without an upfront guitar performance guiding things.


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Artist Abyssic
Title [Type/Year] High the Memory [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

This second release from Norwegian symphonic death/doom metal band Abyssic finds them reaching deeper into their pool of dark, doomed orchestration and pulling out a sequel that would make even the most die-hard funeral doom folks squirm in their seats. Formed by members of Susperia and set aside until 2012 when the line-up was completed by keyboardist/composer André Aaslie (Funeral, Gromth) Abyssic can now boast early Dimmu Borgir/Old Man’s Child drummer Tjodalv among their ranks, to be sure the symphonic black metal feeling you’ll get from this record is impossible to ignore. ‘High the Memory’ is perhaps best aimed towards the greater Shape of Despair, Ahab and Ea fandom though there are few comparable death/doom projects that use keyboards and orchestration in this exact way. Considering what could be done with a slightly faster pace ‘High the Memory’ almost hides in its funeral doom pacing and as such I’d only recommend it to folks who can find redeeming value in projects that focus on glacial pacing. If they’d have warmed up with some more personal performances, it’d feel a bit less like a novelty act at times. Still, a fantastic record.


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Artist Onirophagus
Title [Type/Year] Endarkenment [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Spanish death/doom metal band Onirophagus parted ways with Decapitated Christ‘s founding guitarist Gormth after their first album ‘Prehuman’ (2013) but they’ve actually gained a former bassist and current second guitarist from that same band in the interim. Now a sextet on their sophomore full-length six years later Onirophagus sport a more dynamic sound that includes some melodic death/doom influence while still retaining that Ophis-esque doomed death metal sound style previous. Modern doom metal influences and heavy death metal tone aside, it is the melodious moments that spark ‘Endarkenment: Illumination Through Putrefaction’ to life and I really hope they keep this sound up as it feels like a much bigger, deeper vision beyond that of ‘Prehuman’, which was satisfying but relatively straightforward. I think the songwriters here grasp the existential fuel for extreme doom metal in such an effective way here and much of what I’d said about Majestic Downfall I’d concur in regard of ‘Endarkenment’. Definitely check this out if you liked that record or the most recent Beneath Oblivion album but wanted more successful melodic statements.


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Artist Herod
Title [Type/Year] Sombre Dessein [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Modern progressive sludge metal is a tough nut to crack lately as I find myself hating it at first, especially within a focused bout of analysis but, with some time and the right voided mood the bigger picture is pretty nice. Pelagic are most definitely right upon the cusp of this sound and movement as they secure the upper-crust of modern sludge and post-metal; Though I trust that their modernity is a worthy exploration, Herod never fully sank its talons into my mind on ‘Sombre Dessein’. Ultra polished and downtuned production, precision nigh djent-like guitar work, and hardcorish screams defy my own taste in the dirtier side of post-metal music. If your sensibilities lean towards stuff like Gojira, and Meshuggah but you want The Ocean‘s progressive ethos informing the structural arc then Herod could be a big, honking revelation for you. In fact ex-The Ocean vocalist Mike Pilat should be recognizable here. Herod is the brainchild of current Samael bassist Pierre Carroz (ex-Scars Divide) who deserves some due credit for the conceptual ideas here beyond the fine-tuned music as ‘Sombre Dessein’ deals with environmental and social collapse worldwide, the reality of what they’re alluding to is ten tons heavier than whatever occult fantasy the average death metal album provides.

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Artist Eremit
Title [Type/Year] Carrier of Weight [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Fans of Samothrace, Black Bow Records, and Moritz Fabian‘s other band Dragged (check out ‘We Summon’) should be excited about the forthcoming debut epic from German sludge/doom project Eremit. Deeply echoing growls, heavy mid-paced sludge riffs, and a great sense of groove all make this debut worth checking out. “Cocoon of Soul” is the most worthy and memorable composition here at 33+ minutes, the length of the average metal album, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the band might be capable of within the sub-10 minute range instead of stretching their riffs across 15-30 minute spans. It makes for a decent listen but ‘Carrier of Weight’ is definitely meant for the die-hard sludge/doom fans.


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Artist Zohamah
Title [Type/Year] Spread My Ashes [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Zohamah is a solo project from Israeli musician Hezi Menashe (Romuvos, Spawn of Evil) where he combines atmospheric doom metal with black and death metal influences. ‘Spread My Ashes’ is effective in the sense that no one song sticks around too long, a rarity for extreme doom metal that sets each song at 4-5 minutes, this should appeal to folks more inclined towards melodic death/doom, black/doom, and death metal. I think the project has a ways to go in terms of distinct sound and ideas but that doesn’t mean Zohamah doesn’t prove the value of their conceptual sound by the end of the album just a few songs feel unfinished (“Black Cloud”) or in need of more thought.


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Artist Negative Wall
Title [Type/Year] Gammagelu [EP/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Though the return of Hallow’s Eve in the late 2000’s appeared to breathe new life into legendary thrash bassist Tommy Stewart the Atlanta, Georgia musician has enjoyed a sort of Paul Chain-esque renaissance as he’s turned his attention towards multiple doom metal projects across this last decade. Though I enjoyed the progressive leanings of Bludy Gyres and the more ‘traditional’ Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf it’d be sci-fi themed doom project Negative Wall‘s debut EP ‘Gammagelu’ that really grabbed my attention. I don’t want to say their sound is as weird as (early) Dwarr (or The Mezmerist, even) but you’ll feel a bit of that strange DIY funkiness when you fire it up. I’d recommend this one to fans of the psychedelic side of Italian doom metal in the 80’s/early 90’s as well as stuff like Blizaro.


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Artist Endimion
Title [Type/Year] Latmus [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Nothing will shock or impress the long indoctrinated melodic death/doom fan as they spin ‘Latmus’, the second full-length from Concepción, Chile based band Endimion but if you still yearn for the peak My Dying Bride and Opeth years there’ll be compelling enough material within to check out. ‘Latmus’ is a bit unfocused and they’ve stretched their clean vocal capabilities a bit on the record but no part of Endimion’s second album truly falls flat.


Did I miss your favorite 2018/2019 album? Send me an e-mail and tell me about it. It is always worthwhile to speak up for the lesser known stuff. Please remember you can contribute to my Patreon @ only $1 USD per month ($12 a year) to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.

 

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