Tombs - Monarchy Of Shadows review

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Band: Tombs
Album: Monarchy Of Shadows
Release date: February 2020

01. Monarchy Of Shadows
02. Once Falls The Guillotine
03. Necro Alchemy
04. Man Behind The Sun
05. The Dark Rift
06. Path Of Totality (Midnight Sun)

Tombs have been regularly putting out new music in various formats since 2008, including full-lengths, EPs and splits. They've gone the EP route again this time around, and dropped one of their strongest collections of music to date.

The infusion of black metal with varying elements of sludge, post-metal, death and more has enabled Tombs to build a somewhat sizeable reputation in the underground; however, after starting off with a bang with Winter Hours and Path Of Totality, their more recent efforts have received more mixed responses. For their debut on the Season Of Mist label, the band's revolving door of members has turned again, as frontman and lone ever-present Mike Hill has been joined by 3/4 of death metal band Kalopsia. These changes seem to have brought new ideas to the band, with death metal influences seemingly more prominent here than on previous work. They also seem to have brought new inspiration, as Monarchy Of Shadows feels tighter and more vital than their most recent couple of efforts.

The title track takes some time to get going, with extended synthy ambience; however, once the full band arrives, it kicks off with a emphatically meaty intro riff before unleashing into frantic tremolo and blast beats, above with fierce shrieks and low-range clean vocals alternate. These cleaner vocals certainly aren't the greatest strength of Tombs; however, they offer some useful variation in tone. Variety is generally in abundance here; despite only containing 6 tracks and just over 30 minutes of runtime, Monarchy Of Shadows has a healthy level of diversity in its approach. After the relentless tremolo of the title track eventually gives way to a slow, punchy climax, Tombs explode with "Once Falls The Guillotine", a buzzsaw death metal juggernaut that ranks amongst the best songs here. The frenetic opening is followed by an eerie, doomy slow crawl midway through, complete with extensive extreme/clean vocal interplay, and several memorably hooky riffs before all is said and done.

The remainder of the record is content to play around with the balance of black, death, doom and other metal approaches, culminating in the other standout cut, "The Dark Rift". Opening with a chunky mid-tempo death metal riff, it then shifts into symphonic black metal territory, with emphatic contrast between the dramatic synths, gradually decelerating guitars and contrasting vocals. As the song slows towards the end, the thick, pounding drums, guitar interplay and increasingly prominent clean vocals take the listener to far bleaker, more ritualistic territory than the venom of "Once Upon A Guillotine" or aggressive closer "Path Of Totality (Midnight Sun)" (not to be confused with the title track from Path Of Totality).

This latest incarnation of Tombs has not wasted a second of the limited runtime of Monarchy Of Shadows, delivering a concise yet varied and emphatic collection of songs. Although the group are no strangers to line-up changes, it would be interesting to see what this latest incarnation could continue to deliver if they remain together, as their first outing is an impressive display of their compatibility.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 02.03.2020 by I'm just a guy with an opinion.


Comments: 2   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 60 users
02.03.2020 - 18:09
Thats a strange looking pokemon in the coverart
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
02.03.2020 - 21:14
Written by RaduP on 02.03.2020 at 18:09

Thats a strange looking pokemon in the coverart

It's the offspring of the haunters and cubones hooking up in the Pokemon Tower of Lavender Town

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