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Tomb Mold - The Enduring Spirit review

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Band: Tomb Mold
Album: The Enduring Spirit
Release date: September 2023

01. The Perfect Memory (Phantasm Of Aura)
02. Angelic Fabrications
03. Will Of Whispers
04. Fate’s Tangled Thread
05. Flesh As Armour
06. Servants Of Possibility
07. The Enduring Spirit Of Calamity

It's been a while since we last heard from Tomb Mold. Seems like the passing time transformed them closer to prog death metal act.

There was a pretty huge OSDM revival back in the latter part of the last decade, something that conveniently coincided with me getting more and more into the genre, making it a pretty exciting time to be around. I did eventually reach a sort of saturation with the sound where it felt harder and harder to uniquely describe each act, which was something that still didn't keep me from enjoying the genre but left me more picky in terms of what to choose to cover. Around that time Tomb Mold were one of the names that got the most attention, with 2018's Manor Of Infinite Forms becoming quite a staple pretty much instantly. I did get to cover the follow-up, 2019's Planetary Clairvoyance, and it was the kind of album where it was pretty clear that the band was slowly switching gears. But that was back in 2019. This is a band who used to release one album every year, in addition to EPs and demos, so since then there was a silence about as long as their actual active period. The jump made through that silence feels like what it would have felt like to skip through those gradual change albums not released in those years and arrive straight at a prog death Tomb Mold.

Maybe that's an exaggeration. The difference in sound between The Enduring Spirit and Planetary Clairvoyance is much greater than the difference between Planetary Clairvoyance and Manor Of Infinite Forms, but it's not really "four albums of gradual development" kind of development, more like a band taking a leap of faith further into a direction they were already flirting with. The progressive and technical aspects of their sound that were already present in their sound now get pushed to 11, the tangled riffs get even tanglier, the band can't seem to keep on a single melody for very long but also not losing all sense of melodic riffing, leaving them closer to progressive sounding than merely technical sounding. For the most part, all these sections do build pretty compelling songs even with the increased intricacy. There's a lot to remind of early 90s prog death like Death or Cynic as opposed to some of the doomier sounds in the vein of Autopsy and Incantation that have subsided significantly here.

The Cynic comparisons ring especially true with how clean some of the jazzy sections feel, as well as some of my favorite moments letting the bass have the highlight. The doomier undertones and the gutturals still keep the music anchored with a sense of brutality that isn't completely neutered by the more melodic and clean aspect of the music, something that's also the result of the production finding a compromise between sounding clean and sounding heavy, but leading more towards the former. Hence there's a bit of a lack of oomph that I hope Tomb Mold manage to reintroduce in the future. As things are right now, I enjoy the direction and Tomb Mold are certainly good at pushing things in this intricate direction, but I don't find myself going "Holy shit" at it as much as I was hoping I would. And I think some of it being because the vocals stay in this rotten direction that isn't reflected in the instrumentals enough, while the instrumental go into a progressive direction without really going over the top in any regard, so far too much of the runtime is spent just being alright in a genre already mastered by other bands thirty years ago. And this is where the massive weight of expectations sets in.

Some of the best Tomb Mold songs inhabit this album ("Will Of Whispers" and "The Enduring Spirit Of Calamity"), something that justifies the direction taken here, but also it feels like some of its blades need to be sharpened further to really break out of an already existing mold.

Written on 02.10.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 66 users
02.10.2023 - 15:46
Rating: 9

Even with the change in direction i really enjoy them, and they might even end up high in my 2023 rankings, time will tell. thanks for the review !

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