Year Of The Burial
posted on 5/2012 By:
Tombstones describes themselves as “Norweedian doom”, and while their nationality isn’t apparent in their music, they’ve got the stoner vibe down to a THC-infused science. Year of the Burial is a muddy amalgamation of sludgy riffs and dynamic down-tempo devastation. Sure, things can drag a bit, but as long as you’ve got some patience to spare and a penchant for the genre, there’s very little to complain about here. Oh, and this album dropped on April 20th. Well played, Tombstones. Well played.
“Unveiling” creates an ominous and powerful mood with buzzing and intense guitars and rock-solid drumming. The riff that comes in after about a minute and a half actually reminded me of a strangely stripped-down Tool, which created a foreboding atmosphere I quite enjoyed. Tombstones writes a very dark style of stoner metal that occasionally struggles with abusive repetition, but for the most part, the album remains engaging and inventive.
Though the vocals are sparse, they are always well-placed, and the overall production is tasteful and natural. My only qualm is that the drums are a bit too low in the mix, and fills that should have thundered across certain soundscapes are often lost in the shuffle of gritty guitars. The album sounds as though it was recorded with summer in mind: This is a record to blast on a balmy and blindingly sunny day, and though Tombstones hails from a land mostly viewed as grim and frostbitten, Year of the Burial feels anything but.
“Quintessential” comes close to living up to its namesake, as it takes trademarks of the stoner rock genre and pushes them into even heavier territory. One thing that sets this Norwegian trio apart is the vocals, which have a warm tone that carries through Bjørn-Viggo Godtland’s sung/shouted rasps. “Egypt” doesn’t utilize any obvious Middle Eastern chords or scale choices, but there is subtle bass work and tribal drumming toward the end that creates an ancient vibe. I could easily envision this song as the soundtrack to a slow-footed and deliberate trek across blazing sands.
The title track picks up the pace and jolts the listener back into full attention. Some bands choose to lull their audience into a comfortable yet static daze, but Tombstones makes the conscious decision to remain interesting instead of hypnotizing you into a stoner rock stupor. Year of the Burial isn’t perfect, though, and while there are specific riffs and moments that are more than worthy of praise, there are only a couple of truly exceptional tracks.
I would say that the album as a whole is a superlative effort, but each song runs together in a similar fashion and detracts from the unique sound for which the band is striving. Ending on a comparatively dull note with the predictably mid-paced and murky “Sabbathian”, Year of the Burial is still worth looking into as an agreeable example of finely crafted and genuine doom.
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