With a name like that, I thought I knew exactly what to expect from Tar Pit and, to an extent, I was right; the guitars, drums, and bass of Tar Pit are covered in the sludge which their name hints at. Things are slow, feedback is high and the overall tone is that of something being born from a fetid slump. But with the addition of very unique vocals and a somewhat left-of-field approach to composition, Tar Pit’s Tomb of Doom (what an album name, I mean, come on) manages to strike not a few surprising notes and keep us entertained even if we’ve heard a lot of it before. The secret then, as is often the case with doom metal and further into metal, is personality; things don’t have to be revolutionary if they’re made with a smidge of flavor to them, with an approach that makes the music your own.

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The main way that Tar Pit accomplish this is through the vocals. The best way to describe them is “What if Electric Wizard but they really loved Lemmy Kilmister and Motörhead in general?” This influence is most present on the opening track, “Rune”; the guitars are a bit faster than you’d imagine, channeling something of the chunky aggression of the aforementioned greats. The vocals just have Kilmister all over them; the rasp, the drawl, the particular intonation which very firmly hints at a “fuck you” underneath them. Whether this was a conscious influence or not, it works really well with the music; the result is still sludgy but it has this forward vector to it, more limber and out-and-about than Electric Wizard.

This is also true for the rest of the album, which exercises a fair bit more restraint than the sludge/doom/stoner luminaries. Things are tighter and more necessary, preferring a stirring turn of musical phrase than chords which echo out into infinity and pummel the listener into submission. This makes Tomb of Doom a great album both for lovers of proto-doom (by virtue of its faster riffs) and those looking to be buried alive under a wall of sludge. Bottom line, if you like feedback and you like it loud, this is the album for you.