Have you ever heard an atmospheric black metal album? Whether it be from one of the many upstarts that released good-to-great albums last year, or from a genre stalwart like Wolves In The Throne Room or Burzum, it doesn’t matter. Have you heard one? If so, you’ve already heard Krigsgrav‘s newest LP, Waves of Degradation. Every trope of the genre, every facet and quirk, is here, in full force, with nothing to delineate this startup artist from Texas from the rest of the pack. That’s not to sound overly harsh – this isn’t a bad album, by any means – but this apple does not fall far from the proverbial tree.
Waves of Degradation is perfectly alright atmospheric black metal, nothing less, nothing more. It will satisfy the itch for something new in this genre, should that be what you crave, but it’s hard to recommend this in any capacity because it’s just painfully average. It’s not squandered potential, there’s just nothing beyond the basics that ever peeks its head out here. It’s not bad – I feel like I can’t say that enough – and it doesn’t offend the sensibilities in any way, but it just doesn’t pique any interest or offer any sort of reception beyond “yeah, that’s an atmospheric black metal album.” If you absolutely must hear something new within this realm, then by all means, listen to Krigsgrav, but if you’re looking for something fresh and interesting, you’re definitely better off looking elsewhere.
Krigsgrav – Waves of Degradation gets…
Tombs is not a band to be fucked around with, and they make sure you know it: All Empires Fall, brief though it may be, is packed to the gills with the band’s signature dirty, intense, sludgy approach to black metal, and is practically overflowing with the sort of hard-hitting grimness these peddlers of perversion have dabbled in since their beginnings as a band. Fresh off the heels of a tour with Full Of Hell and 1349, the followup to 2014’s excellent Savage Gold displays a band that has settled quite comfortably into their sonic niche.
For those not in the know, the trademark Tombs sound is a rich and fierce blend of sludge metal, post-metal, and hardcore punk, all tossed in a bowl and applied liberally to a base of black metal. Rumbling bass chugs away as swirling leads and atmospheric synths create visions of grand destruction, cities falling apart before the listener’s eyes as the vocals and chunky rhythm guitars spit fire from the sky. Tombs is perhaps best described as a sonic firestorm; their music is as sweeping and grandiose as it is aggressive and sharp, and in a way that is notably atypical of their peers in the world of genre fusion, all of the elements of their sound come together in a way that feels cohesive and natural. Tombs songs aren’t post-/black/hardcore/sludge metal songs, they’re just Tombs songs, and no matter if they’re aping Emperor or ISIS, it bears a unique sonic stamp.
On All Empires Fall, the band covers every element of their sound in a relatively short release – 23 minutes, give or take – and splits up various aspects of the elements that go into their music into the different tracks. Short opener “The World Is Made Of Fire” displays their precocious crust punk side as the band lurches through several all-out attacks; its immediate follower, “Obsidian,” is a black metal track that would do Ihsahn and other practitioners of that form of extreme metal proud. Every track presents a different part of the Tombs sound in a way that still manages to feel cohesive, and although no two songs sound alike here, the overall package is remarkably coherent.
All Empires Fall is fun and diverse, an exciting, albeit short, offering from a band that typically tries to bring all of their influences together, not separate them. It’s a refreshing change of pace from their usual fare, and making this an EP was absolutely the right choice: it is exactly as long as it needs to be, and no time feels wasted. Any fan of the band should welcome this as a great addition to their discography.