Tombs – The Grand Annihilation

Tombs have always been a band of interesting mixtures. Combining several different types of metallic goodness (black, doom, post-metal, etc.), as well as various musicians coming in and out for seemingly each new project, the band has become borderline impossible to categorize, very rarely sit still long enough to revel in whatever iteration they currently exist in. This is often an indication of discord and listlessness in a band, but Tombs have seemed to make it work. Particularly with their previous album, Savage Gold, the band seemed to be firing on all cylinders. It was a cohesive, consistently bludgeoning and artfully structured album that ended up being one of my favorites of 2014. With their latest record, The Grand Annihilation, Tombs seeks to replicate many of the aspects that made Savage Gold such a rousing success. They accomplish this feat with potent (albeit somewhat mixed) results.

Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him

A whole host of good oceanic adjectives come to mind when trying to describe Vallenfyre’s sound, like “roiling,” “crashing,” “deep,” or “furious.” Although these UK extreme metal stalwarts don’t play music particularly themed towards deep bodies of water in the same way as, say, The Ocean, their sound burbles and hisses in a similar manner to some forgotten Cambrian trench, oozing and rushing in various degrees through briny swill and hot gas. Fear Those Who Fear Him, the third outing from Vallenfyre, doesn’t do much to change this – no big stylistic shift in trajectory has occurred in the three years since Splinters – but hey, when you’ve got a formula that routinely kicks this much ass, is there any reason to mess with it?

Post Rock Post – Stone From the Sky

A formula for making Stone From the Sky: put your hand on the dial that says “Camel” and then slow it way down. OK, you went too far and now you’ve made Earth. Bring it back up a notch, just a little bit. Wait, whoa, you went too far and now we have Cambrian Explosion. Slow it down again just a tiny bit and there we go! Stone From the Sky are like stoner rock that’s passed out in a field of post rock poppies, intoxicating delays doing some very weird things to its perceptions of timing, tone, and delivery. Their album, aptly named Fuck the Sun, is all rolling hills and wide meadows, a sojourn in the diffused light of some other source of illumination.