Posted: November 15, 2010 in metal


T.O.M.B. is a mysterious, unnamed and faceless entity well known for crafting the darkest noise recordings with the aid of nothing but field recordings. To collect the field recordings T.O.M.B. travelled and trespassed through the earth’s darkest landmarks including (but not limited to) byberry mental institution, Penn Hurst state school, the grave of Euronymous, Waverly Hills (kentucky), Norristown State Hospital, Lambertville High School, Eden Hall Church, Bethlehem steel works, graveyards, abandoned buildings, and the ruins of civilization as we know them.
TOMB’s sound is the reverberation of decaying and dying structures as caught and recorded and in their purest form. There is no manipulation, no tinkering, nothing contrived, nothing planned. This sound is truly the channeling of unholy entities through one helpless, faceless husk of a man.
T.O.M.B. has had a long career with three full-length albums and countless compilations, split releases, and collaborations with other artists.
A unique ritualistic experience based and recorded at Norristown State Mental Hospital and Pennhurst State Hospital in Pennsylvania. And so…emerging as one of the best catastrophic black noise ambience able to mutate into the most abrasive, corrosive and obscure forms with any limits. A suggestive journey to the most insane hidden mental larva’s evoking the necessary paradigms to keep your senses in a catatonic state all the time. “Pennhurst”, includes a total of 5 compositions, which begin with “Primevil Sorcery” a lethal industrial composition with strong and dark platform, converging into a claustrophobic piece, encapture the whole essence of what T.O.M.B, can create through the whole album.”Maz Ov Tha Damd”, has been evoked through Invoking images of suffering, the voices and mind of the departed through channeling of bones and other habiliments of the grave. Subliminal percussive elements and obscure atmospheres emanating its malefic forces through the extreme uses of diverse elements and drone soundscapes. Another ritualistic piece here is “Goetic Naos”, more dense than the last ones, but still keeping such suggestive and obscure sounds crawling into such vaporous drone elements and envisions the magnificent of what T.O.M.B is all about. The track is so long almost 25 minutes, of pure psychotic oppressive musik.”Audi Alteram Partem”, comes into obscure female chants as evoking atavistic forces bit similar to the ones at Diamanda Galas. The final composition is the title track “Pennhurst”,a deconstructive black noise piece full of schizophrenic states and agonic structures with intense moments from start to finish. The album comes on a black cdr with velvet pouch, drawing sigils and special packaging.

Penn Hurst is a release which will sit heavy on the heart and remain there in stone through passing states of consciousness, penetrating deeply into one’s sleep and most private thoughts. T.O.M.B. recorded this entire release in the decaying and deserted halls of Penn Hurst State School, an abandoned mental facility that once stood 27 buildings tall and 300 acres wide right smack in the middle of bumblefuck Pennsylvania. Penn Hurst was shut down when it was learnt that the staff were brutally molesting, raping, abusing, torturing and experimenting on the patients, many of whom were involuntarily committed for crimes against society. T.O.M.B. spent many nights in Penn Hurst collecting field recordings of percussive pieces, contact mic investigations, lunar oscillation, ambient acoustics, incantations, a piano, metal surfaces, and natural tunnel reverberations. This release is in a universe all of its own… There are multiple layers of sub sonic speech going on here that are hypnotic, reminiscent of low frequency oscillators almost inaudible almost undetectable save for the gurgling and sinking feeling they produce in the stomach… Percussive, dark maelstrom of subsonic energy. This release captures the intensity of Penn Hurst at midnight in the dead of winter. Beyond metal… Hypnotic and intoxicating.

Brutal “Black Crypt Metal” from the USA.
This very original piece of work brilliantly casts an absolutely horrifying atmosphere with its simple song structures. This band has gone to a few lengths to create something unique here and have even used Crypt doors as their percussion.
TOMB is the type of band which only comes along once in a blue moon and stuns its listeners with its audio capacity.

Tomb join a sub-genre of bands that create ritualistic, ambient noise devoid of melody or many other musical trappings in the quest to produce uniquely atmospheric illusions. Like other bands in this genre e.g., Abruptum, Emit, Nebiros; Tomb use distortion to mould sound to serve their purposes. Not loud and harsh to try and blind us to their weakness, this is artistic.
The construction of each song is relatively simple, but because of the motifs, can sound meticulous. In other words, careful layering allows each track to possess the ritualistic monotony, but retain a creative wave throughout. Tomb know how to implement an idea and when to introduce variations, this timing allows each song to drag on without losing its consistency.
The distorted backbone – which can be easily mistaken for a distorted guitar, but is more likely a digital effect – creates the thickest layer when used. The most possessive layer: percussion and samples form the rhythm and control the pace. Vocals are another ritualistic element which do not seem to bare much reliance on the music. This is an encouraged element in such environments – vocals naturally exorcised in chaotic heedlessness. The discharge of Demons is very rarely set to any timescale.
Included with the CD-R is an AVI video that features a clip of a cloaked figure hitting crypt doors for this recording. The results of which are heard through several tracks. The video also includes an interview.
A six-track six-year compilation of blackened torturous noise, which remains atmospheric and effectively complex. The type of music that must be played loud and with bass on full. Impressive early works by a mind that obviously knows how to construct valuable material, further projects will be anticipated.

T.O.M.B. is a mysterious, unnamed entity well known for crafting the darkest noise recordings with the aid of nothing but field recordings. With Macabre Noize Royale, T.O.M.B. has set out to push the boundaries further than ever before. To collect the field recordings T.O.M.B. travelled and trespassed through Pennsylvania’s darkest landmarks including:

Bethlehem Steel Works – builder of large calibre guns during WWI and WWII
Eden Hall Church – 157 year old gothic church destroyed from arson
Laurel Hill Cemetery – 170 year old cemetery
Lambertville High School – students burned alive 30 years ago, site of countless suicides since.
Each location has a disturbing history and they have become locations of multiple ghost sightings and unexplained deaths.

Through these field recordings, smashing recording rods into massive steel structures and ancient crypt doors, T.O.M.B. reawakens the decaying structures and the agonizing history they hold sealed.
The recordings are then crafted into the darkest, heaviest BLACK NOISE ever recorded. And for the first time full Black Metal / Industrial tracks have been created.

Macabre Noize Royale is T.O.M.B.’s most diverse album by far. Integrating pure noise with ambience, Industrial and Black Metal. The clear intention is to push the boundaries of Black Noise sound manipulation and continue to shock the listener (both fans and newcomers).

So many bands use periods like they use umlauts, just throwing them into to make their band name seem more fucked up or evil or grim. So we fully expected that T.O.M.B. were doing just that, until we discovered it does actually stand for something: Total, Occultic, Mechanical, Blasphemy.
 Which is in fact a pretty good name for these guys. Cuz this is indeed some seriously occultic mechanical blasphemy. This one man band from Pennsylvania is one of the new breed of black metallers, with a healthy appetite for NOISE, but in T.O.M.B., that appetite is sated in a fairly unique way. Every song here was recorded in a different location, various places in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, all in some way spiritual, whether they were the location of some tragedy, or perhaps they are supposedly haunted, each one adding their vibe and spirit to the recordings, not to mention their bizarre acoustics.
 The tracks here range from blown out blurred dronemusic, thick with distortion and buzzing guitars howled vocals, and tons of reverb from the huge concrete environs, while others are more straight ahead blackened buzz, but even those tracks are far from straight ahead, the two disparate sounds often getting all tangled up in one another, or even overlapping, the more metal parts slipping from loping mathy black metal to furious thrashing, cool start stop dynamics, haunting minor key melodies…
 But the best tracks are definitely the ones that sounds like some fucked up grim metal band set up at the bottom of some cistern or on the wide open floor of some burnt out factory. The drums a machine like pulse, the guitars a howling cloud of droney buzz, the vocals just adding to the din, every once in a while bits of guitar drifting to the surface, some tracks it sounds like the band is playing in another room, very much like it sounds standing right outside the door of a club, but way more murky and washed out. Because of the field recording aspect, the sound quality varies dramatically, and tends toward the raw and lo-fi, but that’s the point, it’s the industrial city version of Nordic bands recording in the woods, this is band out in ‘the wild’, incorporating the surroundings into their sound, almost creating a new kind of USBM, this is definitely not for everyone. The sound is damaged and really strange, the metal here is plenty buzzing and blasting, but more often than not is wreathed in reverb, or buried in murk, or just plain fucked up, but awesomely fucked up. Headphones help for sure, there’s so much to hear, so much going on beneath the noise and within the black buzz. Definitely one of the coolest weirdest black metal records so far this year…

What is Black Metal?  Other than the subject must pertain to Satanism in some respect, what exactly are the criteria for giving oneself the Black Metal moniker?  Back when the world was new, it meant that you were diametrically opposed to anything Christian, that you were a loner and an elitist and that you expressed yourself to those only that you deemed worthy.  Musically, it needed to be raw and unmixed, no clean production or name producer.  It had to sound as unrestrained as the subject.
How times have changed, as they always do.  What started out as a philosophical and spiritual (or lack thereof) movement has transformed into just another genre of Heavy Metal.  Yet there are still stalwarts to the original feelings.  In that we can include T.O.M.B.  Hailing from Pennsylvania; the group, which includes many musicians, has here amassed recordings from 1996 – 2006. 
Here within we find low-fi  Black Metal infused with Industrial, EBM and field recordings.  The afore mentioned field recordings take place from Laurel Hill Cemetery, Pennhurst State Mental Hospital and the tragic Byberry Mental Hospital.  The musicians are able to create an interesting mix of the previous genres focusing on combining them with excruciatingly painful vocals. Within that they construct a primitive, infernal atmosphere, devoid of the usual Black Metal clichés.  Drums are tribal, vocals are pained and dispirited hymns are added to an already unsettling aura.
In the end it all feels real; the music they create and the backdrop they set for us.  Forget what Black Metal is as of 2010.  This is the pure aural sound of unsettling malevolence, and done extremely well.


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