Tombs – Path of Totality

I was mostly interested in Tombs because they picked up Bryant Meyer, electronics/keyboardist of the inexplicably defunct Isis. This move parallels that of Isis front man Aaron Harris, who joined the re-kindled Twilight to release Monument to Time End. Both black metal bands. Both having released progressivized black metal albums.

One would think, of all the islands in the metal archipelago, that Black Metal would be least likely to make the progressive turn. A genre that derives its sense of bleakness from pummeling repetition won’t necessarily have much space for structural variations. And in many moments, Path of Totality leans on you with an oppressive wall of noise. The vocals, always dark, feel like they radiate from a monolith. And it convinces you it will just stay that way. Take the track Passageways. After extracting its pound of flesh, they bust out with Eye-Of-Every Storm style psychedelia at the end, which throws an entirely new light on everything that came before.

Then comes Silent World, which is the inverse. It covers as much ground as a jam by Grayceon, then spends the next half of the song hammering you into the earth. The innovation here is that these variations never feel out of spirit; the gloom has the last word. It’s the fauna of a lonely wasteland. Just enough to lead you in before the darkness closes around you.

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