Last Updated on January 2, 2024
Arg my brain! For at least the first minute or two this album was just too much for me. I like some pretty challenging music but I like to be sonically seduced. A nice acoustic intro, maybe a synth. I need something that prepares me for an onslaught. This album is like meeting someone for the first time and offering to buy you a house.
Mad thrashy math metal like Tomb Mold can suffer horribly from not allowing enough space in the madness to let the riffs ring through. That’s not happening on this album; in fact, there are some really great riffs that might even be in a standard time signature.
I realise I should probably try and explain what this album sounds like in a way that someone who hasn’t been neck-deep in metal might understand. Imagine watching a band where the members are racing each other to the end of the song. The commentator for the race is Cookie Monster. Each time one of the bandmates gets into the lead they turn into an aural peacock. Still with me?
The production on this album is actually brilliant, and I apologise for focussing so much on the nuttiness of the sound; it’s such a dominant part of the experience. When proceedings slow down a bit I can feel my brain breathing a sigh of relief.
It’s a real challenge to review this album without it sounding like I either hate it, or that I’m mocking it. Neither is true. I’m not sure I’d put a record like this on when I’ve just woken up, but this hyper-complex metal fills a very definite niche. One filled with super intelligent people with PHDs and metal spikes on their sleeves.
Before I got into metal hearing an album like ‘The Enduring’ spirit would reaffirm my assumption that metal is not only ‘not for me’, but that it’s a threat to the fabric of reality. I can totally understand that if you’re not into metal Tomb Mold might sound like absolute nonsense, but believe me, there’s a logic behind this madness.
At the 2:20 mark in track four (Fate’s Tangled Thread) there’s one of the best riffs I’ve heard all year. This is a good example of the challenge behind this type of technical music – the rewards are not just handed to you on a plate.
The sounds are nowhere near as brutal or heavy as some metal genres, the challenge for bands like Tomb Mold lays in trying to wrap your brain around the sheer complexity of it. Songs turn 180 degrees mid-bar. They speed up and slow down by vast degrees.
This album contains enough riffs and ideas for at least twenty other albums, across many genres. Why pick an extreme metal genre when you can play all of them, at once.
If you love the weirder output of Frank Zappa, or King Crimson, and you’ve never heard this type of extreme metal, give Tomb Mold a spin. You might love them.
The closest band Iv’e heard to Tomb Mold are Opeth. I’m still recovering from seeing Opeth a couple of years ago, I think seeing Tomb Mold live might cause me too much trauma.
If you’re not a fan of metal at all, then this might not be the best introduction to extreme metal. But from a metalhead’s perspective can I say this is a good album? Frankly, I have no idea.