In three years Tomb Mold has put out three full-lengths with some smaller releases in between, maintaining a blistering pace that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Last year the band expanded from a duo to a four-piece and their sophomore full-length Manor of Infinite Forms opened up the songwriting accordingly, resulting in one of the better death metal releases 2018 had to offer. A little over a year later Planetary Clairvoyance has arrived to continue the group’s push onwards, once again delivering dense grooves and blasts that hook listeners from the get-go yet change often enough to keep them on their toes. It doesn’t feel like quite as big of a leap as before but makes enough tweaks to the formula to be another worthy effort for death metal fans everywhere.
Stylistically Tomb Mold has stuck with a similar approach for this album, continuing with their dense, lurching blasts that have just as much groove to them as they do atmosphere. But given the strength of the riffs throughout Planetary Clairvoyance it makes sense that the band has stuck with what worked so well before, and there are still plenty of individual sections throughout that stand out. In particular, Tomb Mold’s ability to bludgeon you with straightforward grooves and blasts while sneaking in an ominous clean interlude or scorching solo out of nowhere works to their advantage and makes their material have noticeable peaks that others in the genre don’t always reach. With the album title making it clear that the lyrical content has branched out it also makes sense that some of the melodic interludes have a sci-fi slant this time as well though they’re still just as eerie and skin crawling as before. It may feel more like refinement than reinvention, but when the songs have the ability to draw you back again and again it’s clear that these guys have yet to wear out their particular take on the genre.
Manor of Infinite Forms brought a bit more clarity to the production and this resulted in the vocals being much more prominent and in your face, which has been continued on Planetary Clairvoyance. It’s an approach that works well for Tomb Mold, as the growls are so low and powerful that they feel like they’re towering above the instrumentation with Earth shattering impact. There are a few sections where some higher screaming is added into the mix to shake things up, but for the majority of the album the group keeps things at its lowest, guttural level. Considering that Max Klebanoff does all of this at the same time as playing the drums, each performance proves to be as impressive as the last.
Three albums in Tomb Mold is still at the top of their game, and while it remains to be seen if they can keep this same of upward trajectory at this year to year pace there certainly hasn’t been any noticeable slump. Compared to the changes between Primordial Malignity and Manor of Infinite Forms, this year’s effort doesn’t feel like as giant of a leap but the tweaks still work in the band’s favor and result in that sweet spot between creepy, tense atmosphere and dense bludgeoning that death metal fans will keep coming back to. Planetary Clairvoyance is out now from 20 Buck Spin.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with others to help us grow. You can also like and follow us on the social media of your choice with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon.