Raffy Reviews - Tales of the Tomb: 'Volume II: Mendacium'

A beyond stellar composition of subtle but well-structured and musically destructive passages

Sept. 27, 2019


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Death metal is a very diverse, yet, at the same time, very hit-or-miss subgenre of heavy metal that's been kicking and screaming for decades on end with no end in sight. For one thing I appreciate the abundance of new players and artists getting their material out there for a shot at success, since there's a ton of noteworthy and brutally blessed content out there. And, for every dozen or so generic/mediocre efforts, there's a couple of really good ones that stick with you. Tales of the Tomb is one death metal band that's done just that with its structured mix of different sub-elements and overtly stellar musicianship. Founded in Alberta, Canada just over five years ago, this Edmonton outfit had a rather sketchy history of line-up changes, but we'll forgive them for that. The band is currently independent with a couple releases under their belt...today's offering being their latest. So let's talk about the music!


Album Breakdown

This new one being the band's sophomore release and second EP (PS can't wait for the full-length one day), Volume II: Mendacium (roughly translated to "falsehood/lie" from the Latin language) is a continuation and thematic follow up to the gory and death-obsessed debut EP from 2015 titled Volume I: Morpras. The new EP was just now released via Tales of the Tomb and stands as a lyrical psychological and conspiratory, but musically technical and rhythmic death metal EP that's roughly 24 minutes (six tracks total) in length and features mixing/mastering work courtesy of Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy), who's worked with other bands in the scene, some of which were covered on the site, such as Beyond CreationConsumed By VulturesIngested and more.



Since Volume II: Mendacium is a continuation and progression from the first EP, it follows much of the same themes, structure and formula of the debut (though the first one didn't have the abilities and graces of Donaldson's mixing/mastering, so this one sounds a bit more crisp). The content here is more plentiful, beating out the first EP's meager ten minute running time. Also, though it paints itself as a wholly death metal release, there are some elements related to other subgenres of metal (i.e. grind and the blackened variety) that are thrown in for the sake of entertainment value and variety for its own merit. There are some parts that have those signature tremolos or Gothenburg-style melodeath riffs; as well as other sections throughout that contain guitar solo progressions, rhythm polyrhythms that kinda remind me of new wave metalcore, and some Beyond Creation-esque riffage, as well. 


The opening song 'The Nightmare Hall' introduces listeners to some eerie and cryptic audio feedback and samples before the Cryptopsy/Obituary styled death metal verses kick in. This intro track is a more newschool one packed with droning breakdown riffs, heavy and simultaneously low growls and a slamming outro that turns techy in the end. 'Faul' was a song that felt more mixed in sound and, consequently, more my speed with its bass-filled intro combined with high notes and a rather headbang and mosh-happy hook riff that kind of reminded me of Amon Amarth a bit with its melodic tone. It's a very gallopey song that has a few twists and turns near the end, though it mainly sticks to a general sound. One criticism of the album I have is the lack of those distinct bass lines and guitar solos here and there, though that could be due in part to the brief duration. The next couple of songs are more like the intro track but 'Dyatlov Pass Incident' stuck with me because of how relentlessly speedy and solo happy it is from start to finish. The bonus track is an alright one, though I'd say it's the least memorable and my least fave by far so I'd suggest skipping that one.


The Verdict

All in all, Tales of the Tomb's latest installment is a rather subtle tale that is more akin to a destructive musical journey through morbid lyrical themes and passages. There are quite a few references to real life events of the political, conspiracy and paranormal nature, in addition to some comical and/or eerie audio samples thrown in here and there to give off that distinct '90s death metal vibe. It's a beyond stellar 20-something minute composition that's fairly well-structured instrumentally and vocally nostalgic, if a bit familiar. I'd give it an easy recommend to those who are up for a blend of OSDM with some techy, melodic and other newschool vibes similar to stuff like the latest Cryptopsy or the sound of other material that's a bit more out there like PsycropticSkinlessRevocation or hell pretty much any bands remotely alike to those sounds. That being said, I'd be inclined to hear a Volume Three EP or full-length in the hopefully near future.


Fave Tracks: 'Faul', 'Dyatlov Pass Incident'

For Fans Of: any kind of death metal, be it of the technical, progressive or melodic variety

**This release is available now on digital and physical CD copy here!**


Support your fave artists and musicians!

-Review by: Dave Raffy

Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter


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