Friday, 20 November 2015

Tombstones - ‘Vargariis’ (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 04/12/2015
Label: Soulseller Records




“Barren Fields” sounds like doom, it relentlessly rumbles forth with unstoppable perpetual motion. There is more light and shade with Tombstones, but they are no less weighty, the compositions are all stand alone pieces of music, but all with a vibe running through them and a sound that identifies them.  Simply put, this is a modern doom record and those of us who enjoyed the their last record, Conan, Electric Wizard, Ramesses et al will find much to enjoy here. A fine album, then.


Vargariis’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Barren Fields
2. And When The Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise
3. Oceans Of Consciousness
4. The Dark High
5. Underneath The Earth
6. Pyre Of The Cloth


The Review:

Having heard “Red Skies and Dead Eyes” back in 2013 and enjoyed it a lot, I had high hopes for this Scan-Doom outfits' latest release. From the off, it does not disappoint. “Barren Fields” sounds like doom, all right, but of the Conan rather than Sabbath variety. It relentlessly rumbles forth with unstoppable perpetual motion. There is more light and shade with Tombstones, perhaps, than with their UK equivalent, but they are no less weighty.And When The Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise” acts as a quasi title track, a little quicker at base tempo but it is no less downtuned or doom filled. The vocals, when they arrive, are positively anguished (more akin to Moss, or something, initially). Good to hear the high hat foot pedal getting used too- not something you hear a lot of in doom.

“Oceans of Consciousness” starts with a rolling blast beat (think black metal, not death metal), which is both surprising and a great change of approach for the band. Things slow down to a grooving and low slung riff, of course, but again the band prove that tempos and dynamics are one of their strengths as the blast returns...

Naturally, as the track lengths are all uniformly around the nine or ten minute mark, it would be hard to argue that there are songs per se. This is doom, after all, and as a genre generally it will go for repetition and groove over hooks most of the time. That is not to take away from the compositions here- they are all stand alone pieces of music, but all with a vibe running through them and a sound that identifies them. “The Dark High” gives an almost trippy vibe; loose and open as opposed to some of the more claustrophobic tracks elsewhere and it breaks things up effectively. It gets heavier as it goes, of course and ends with a suitably feral thrashing of the bands' collective instruments. “Underneath The Earth” is a pleasingly downcast listen, all stops and starts and riffs.

“Pyre of the Cloth” finishes the record with another nine minutes plus of percussive battery and doom laden riffage. Simply put, this is a modern doom record and those of us who enjoyed the their last record, Conan, Electric Wizard, Ramesses et al will find much to enjoy here. A fine album, then.


Vargariisis available here

FFO: Conan, Electric Wizard, Ramesses, Slabdragger

Band info: bandcamp | facebook

No comments: