In the two-and-a-half years since Canadian death metal group Tomb Mold stirred up the metal underground with their debut album, Primordial Malignity, they’ve been in full throttle mode. Downtime is not a word they use as a band, and their proficiency has not come with any misgivings. They continue their album a year cycle with Planetary Clairvoyance, which tops their previous two, an admirable feat considering the pristine quality of those records.
Tomb Mold haven’t veered away from the rotted death metal of the past, but they branch out just enough to make this album a notch above what they have been doing. The group has finessed synths and electronics into songs before, but they’ve never gone full ambient for an entire track until “Phosphorene Ultimate.” Electronics and clean guitars drive what will undoubtedly be the most controversial track on the album. It’s the outright experimental song on Planetary Clairvoyance, though an acoustic melody appears for a little bit in the middle of opener “Beg for Life.”
This kind of outward creativity is nice to see a band fiddle with, even if it’s doesn’t change the trajectory of their sound. Tomb Mold are not limited to vile antics via cankerous death metal, but can achieve a horrendous atmosphere using other methods. These other means still don’t match up to the masterful riffs that permeate through these seven hymns of decay. The refinement in the band’s execution is a tremendous example of a band growing with each release.
A moment of metal ecstasy in the form of a quickened pace out of nowhere or a slow period of churning fury is never far away. Though the guitar solos are solid, and there’s enough without leaning into over-the-top territory, Tomb Mold’s forte is the riff, the one that gets a crowd into motion without them realizing it. “Infinite Resurrection” and the title track are guilty of this and seem tailor-made to be tour favorites.
In fact, most of these songs have a chance to land a long-term spot in Tomb Mold’s setlists. Sometimes, the best albums come from bands not looking to completely change the genre, but only to tweak and prod what was already great about it. That’s where Planetary Clairvoyance lands, and it’s tough to say it’s the band’s best album when it could rotate between this, Primordial Malignity, and Manor of Infinite Forms at any time. As far as 2019 goes, this is one of the essential death metal releases of the year.
(released July 19, 2019 on 20 Buck Spin)
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Listen To Tomb Mold – “Infinite Resurrection”