Album review: Tomb Mold – The Enduring Spirit

Canadian death metallers Tomb Mold add a whole load of new to the old school on brutally clever fourth offering…

Album review: Tomb Mold – The Enduring Spirit
Nick Ruskell

Great though the OSDM wave of the past few years has been, it often finds a natural frontier. Thrilled at how great a bunch of old Entombed, Grave, Obituary, Bolt Thrower and Carcass riffs sound through an old Boss HM-2 pedal, there are those who are happy to park the exercise there and build a shrine to it. There is nothing wrong with this – very welcome, in fact. But while it matches the sound, it doesn’t grasp the creative spirit of those bands, even if strokes of creative genius were often as much by accident and circumstance as by design.

Tomb Mold drink very heavily from death metal’s past. Having got the foundations down, however, the Toronto band also dig into plenty of their own ideas to refreshing and interesting effect. Clearly, they’ve been listening to a lot of Death, and singing drummer Max Klebanoff has a deep growl that could rival his heroes, and had they focused on working with just this, they’d still be going home with medals. But it’s in the moments when they stray away from the Left Hand Path (all puns intended) that The Enduring Spirit find its character.

Often, this is in the lead guitar work, bringing in the influence of Steve Vai and ’70s proggers like Camel and Rush, to steer things into fresh waters. The solos on Servants Of Possibility, for one, which veer skilfully between weird-timed shred and glassy, atmospheric melody in unexpected but quite brilliant fashion. Ever heard a major-key death metal bit? You kind of do here. On Will Of Whispers, meanwhile, rides in on a jazzy, clean opening that might catch fans of Polyphia as well as Pestilence. And then when it gets heavy and the barbarism starts, there’s a million nifty little bits that stop this being a simple homage.

The main business is killing, of course, and business is very good. It’s one of the reasons why Tomb Mold are among the most respected names in the new school of old school. But by allowing their own ideas to run wild atop it all, they’re also comfortably one of its most creative.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Gatecreeper, Death, Sadus

The Enduring Spirit is out now via 20 Buck Spin

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