Review – Tomb Mold: The Bottomless Perdition

By -
  • Bio: "TOMB MOLD is an old-school death metal band out of Toronto, Ontario. Derrick Vella and Max Klebanoff have played together in various bands in the past. One of the strongest bonds they shared was an intense love for death metal." - Blood Harvest Records Bandcamp Page
  • Label: Self-release / Blood Harvest Records
  • Release Date: June 23rd, 2016 / July 29th, 2016
  • Genre: Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

It’s unclear when the Canadian duo of guitarist/bassist Derrick Vella and drummer/vocalist Max Klevanoff (Abyss, ex-Fragile Existence) decoded to form the death metal act Tomb Mold. With no social media presence other than a Bandcamp page with no music or ability to order anything, it seems the group is destined to fall into the “mysterious” realm of the underground at this point, especially given the raw state that is their previously independent strictly limited four song demo cassette The Bottomless Perdition, which has been picked up for another run on tape through Blood Harvest Records slated to drop at the end of July. But is it something well worth reinvesting in, or is this just more of the same?

While The Bottomless Perdition carries itself with the crushing tone of Drawn and Quartered, Nasum‘s Inhale/Exhale, or the staple early Incantation album, the quality on display here is far more abrasive. The high echo on the growls are indecipherable most of the time, yet all encompassing at their thickest, adding more tension to the mixture of faster grooves and eerie hooks found throughout. The bass presence is a decent rumble that matches the aesthetic of the sharpened guitars, not to mention era being channeled, as well as a solid, hard-hitting drum presence that really helps separate the hostility from the doom-laden input. Really, this is one of the best sounding demos to come out of the whole underground death metal world as of late. It’s unfortunate that the compositions themselves don’t fully benefit from it.

“(Regions of Sorrow) Intro / Demon Ruins” clocks in at a massive seven minutes in length, taking its time to build up the seventies to eighties horror era with additional synths straight out of a John Carpenter film score. After a minute-and-forty-seconds, the burdening first actual performance kicks in, boasting an eerie start that explodes with some obvious thrash influence in the razor sharp riffs, as well as some grindcore brutality around the four-minute mark. “The Bottomless Perdition”, however, is actually hard to talk about. This isn’t to say the song is beyond words or comparison, but rather that there’s little distinct that is really worth addressing. The song crawls along, suddenly shifts to two-step drums and thrashier riffs, then repeat until the crushing Cathedral grade pacing and riffs kick in to eventually wrap things up. If anything, it’s the most formulaic of songs the demo has to offer.

Of course there are some shorter tracks such as “Bereavement of Flesh”. This one has more of a Death influence to the chorus on par with “Suicide Machine” that simply cannot be ignored. While there’s a little technicality there and other spots at times, this one relies more on a steady, mid-pace chugging approach that is backed well by the deeper pulsing bass. There is a brief marshy bridge that comes and goes around two-and-a-half minutes in that can be argued to show traces of the aforementioned legends as well, casting a hint of progression into the mix that didn’t really need to be there for the conclusion. In fact, it kind of felt forced in, especially when diving headfirst into the hardcore groove filled “Valley of Defilement”. The abrasive atmosphere doesn’t do much for the song in these parts especially the more you listen to it. While catchy, this start doesn’t offer much we haven’t already heard until you get about half-way through and things take on more of a complex role, picking up speed and attempting to tear your flesh clean off.

The bottom line about The Bottomless Pit is that, while the audio quality is simply fantastic, it doesn’t always help anything not of a faster pace or decent complexity. On top of that, this demo comes off like a mixture of Incantation and Death. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if both didn’t have such a stranglehold on the output of the style today as they do, causing this effort to fall into the “tried-and-true” category. Varying bouts of proggy technicality, slabs of doom influence, and attitude driven grooves make up a very complete collection of songs that should have probably focused the mastering on being cold and dank as opposed to abrasive and sandpaper-like, something the lighter color of the insert artwork alludes to right from the start. While this may be something that will pique the interest of casual, every day listeners, long time dwellers of the underground will find themselves becoming less impressed just a few spins in.

Digital review copy of this release provided by Blood Harvest Records.