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Path Of Totality

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Path Of Totality
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Vinyl, June 7, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Tombs tap into the infinite well of emotion and expression on their astounding new full length Path of Totality. Recorded by John Congleton, Path of Totality is a massive step forward in songwriting and sope for the trio. Path of Totality finds Tombs achieving what their previous reording had always hinted at an ultimately heavy and nuanced fusion of their desperate influences. With Path of Totality, Tombs has come into their own as one of the finest heavy bands in the world.

Product Details

  • Vinyl (June 7, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: June 7, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Relapse
  • ASIN: B004QE8SCS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,075 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I don't review records too often, for when I feel the need to do so I fear my words won't do the record in question justice...I respect the work of the artist too much...so I drink 8 beers to work up the nerve...

As a 35 year-old unemployed alcoholic misanthrope on the brink of divorce, this record has proven to be quite the companion for those long nights when the air I breathe feels like needles in my lungs, the dark existing to suffocate only me, light promising to leave for good, hope nothing but a fiction.

I hear Neurosis, I hear Unsane, I hear Joy Division, I hear Unearthly Trance, I hear truth, I hear existence as sound.

This is music for those of us who know where we truly are.
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Format: Audio CD
On Totality they change up their sound a bit from Winter Hours, not in a bad way at all. They become less "clear" sounding such as the production is much more raw, yet still great sounding, which I think makes the music so much heavier, and I must say this is their heaviest material yet. Totality is very chaotic and yet beautiful, but most of all loud. You don't hear a lot "loud" metal bands, since you don't have to be the most extreme to be the loudest. It mainly comes from their influences such as Killing Joke and Swans, both of which are not metal bands, but are some of the heaviest and loudest bands. A little bonus is they don't use drum triggers (which too many modern metal bands do) so the drums sound natural which makes them massive and monolithic. Oh and kudos to them for making it number one on Decibel's list of the best metal albums of 2011, plus they made it on many other magazine and site lists, so I'm starting to gain more faith in people.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mike Hill is the songwriter, guitarist and singer for Tombs, and while he combines various influences, it is clear that he owes a huge debt to Neurosis for his bellowing vocal style and the overall sound of the band. (Andrew Hernandez II plays drums and percussion. Carson Daniel James plays bass.)

PATH OF TOTALITY is not black metal, but it is clearly blackened in places, including the appropriately named "Black Heaven." I am also struck by similarities to High on Fire, another guitar/bass/drums trio known for its dense, powerful riffs, but Hill's lyrical focus is much more aligned with Scott Kelly and Steve von Till of Neurosis in its serious, apocalyptic imagery than with Matt Pike's sword-and-sorcery.

Tombs are not totally derivative, and in any event I can't imagine a better influence than Neurosis! In addition to black metal, Hill incorporates other styles into his unique synthesis. The album combines heavy riffs with more diverse guitar figures and melodic passages.

Decibel Magazine and Brandon Stusoy of Pitchfork's Show No Mercy have championed Tombs. From reading Decibel I gather that the band has its detractors, but I haven't run across them anywhere online.

The insert includes the complete lyrics as well as excellent graphics, which also adorn the CD cover and the disc itself, by Thomas Hooper.
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Format: Audio CD
The fact that Tombs' sophomore album sounds this powerful should come as no surprise to those familiar with the Brooklyn trio's 2009 debut which masterfully blended hardcore energy with the bleak atmospherics and guitar styles of black metal and sludge to great effect. What set that album back was its lack of scope. That problem is rectified here, as every idea hinted at on the debut is maximized to its potential throughout the albums near sixty minute running time.

To call this a pure metal album is a slight disservice as to some that immediately brings to mind many defining characteristics of whichever genre you choose, making it easier to write off bands like Tombs who don't easily fall into one category. Reviewers have pointed out Swans and even Joy Division influences and that's not altogether untrue. Not in the arrangements mind you, this is still dissonant heavy music written with guitars, but the harrowing isolation created by the sound of darker post punk. Tombs write in a way that can be draining to the listener if listened intently. Chords that are crushingly heavy while never sounding like your typical Sabbath-worshipping crowd. Often there'll be arpeggiated guitar lines that carry both dread and melody in equal share. The vocals are monotonous in the best kind of way, articulating the bleak worldview this band is talented enough to display with their musicianship alone.

The production on this is phenomenal. A massive drum sound that gives even more clarity to their vision. Guitars have just the right amount of mid-range and never overwhelm anything else. One of 2011's most replayable and shows even more promise of what's yet to come from these guys.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Love this album. Crushing, it does not let up. No instrument is too busy. Music flows very well, has melody striking a good balance. Obvious Neurosis influence, just look at the cover. But a sound all their own. Hard to put into a specific genre, but rooted deep in hardcore black sludge. Bleak atmosphere. These melodies will haunt your days, you can't get them out of your head. But of course, this is good. Easily in my top 3 favorite metal purchases over the last year.
Favorite tunes:
Bloodletters, Silent World, Passageways, Cold Dark Eyes.
There are no weak songs.
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