Tomb Mold surprised the death metal populous, releasing their fourth album The Enduring Spirit with minimal notice. It has been a long four years since 2019’s Planetary Clairvoyance and guitarist Derrick Vella has also been busy as a part of the extreme two-piece Dream Unending, whose two albums seemed to have inspired this new record. With the world also in flux, what has all of this meant for these Toronto titans of the genre?
It seems that Tomb Mold have married the beauty of the aforementioned Dream Unending and added it to their sound which at its peak is purely gross and primordial yet becomes progressive and at times reaches beyond its own genre’s boundaries. The 1-2 punch of “The Perfect Memory (Phantasm of Aura)” and “Angelic Fabrications” allows this new and slightly more experimental version of Tomb Mold to take hold and re-establishes the strong foundation on which the band stands.
“Will of Whispers” draws comparisons to Cynic’s Focus, in terms of sheer beauty upon arriving and quickly devolves into a wild death metal dirge. Just because they are treading new ground doesn’t mean the rudiments of the band have escaped them, either.
“Flesh As Armour” is a bit more straightforward than the two preceding tracks in its overall structure, with more of a focus on heaviness with riffing that is a bit more free-form and technical. The song builds upon its strange riffs structures to allow Vella and fellow guitarist Payson Power to deliver the goods while growl glutton Max Klebanoff keeps this trio on their cosmic course.
Album closer “The Enduring Spirit of Calamity” is an 11-and-a-half-minute mind-melter of a song, starting in a fairly innocuous way and slowly creeping down a different path. The riffs begin to gallop towards perdition and just when you think you know what to expect, about 4 and a half minutes in you get more of that Focus beauty thrown into the mix. Major kudos to Klebanoff’s inspired drumming combined with the guitar solos and overall atmosphere helps to establish an ethereal environment that Tomb Mold isn’t too keen on relinquishing.
Tomb Mold have come out of nowhere to deliver their best record to date, something which puts it at the top of the list for death metal and metal as a whole in 2023. Albums like this are few and far between, and as such this career defining album’s legacy will live on for a long time. The Enduring Spirit is the sound of pure extreme sonic freedom; do not miss this record.
(released September 15, 2023 on 20 Buck Spin)
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