Often times, hype is nothing more than that, a certain incestuous feeding frenzy created from the proximity inside the metal community. The problem is that sometimes the hype is justified and so we risk throwing out the baby with the bath water when we just skip over everything that comes in through the grapevine. How exactly to create those filters, which allow the actually good stuff in and keep the merely momentarily popular out, is an open question but it’s easy to know when it’s working. Or, rather, when it’s worked in a particular case, when something that’s garnering a lot of attention is also worth that attention from you. Tómarúm is a good example of this. Working under the currently prolific and popular moniker of progressive black metal, the band’s debut EP, Wounds Ever Expanding, has been making quite a buzz these past few weeks. And, in this case, with good reason.
Wounds Ever Expanding‘s biggest selling point is that it’s fresh. Progressive black metal, and black metal in general, is seeing a dearth of releases in the past few years and cliches are rampant. But Tómarúm sounds so effortlessly unique on this two track release that it’s hard to resist their complex charm. It starts with the tones; the guitars and bass on “Throes of Life, Forever Entwined”, the first track, sound like something from a recent Fallujah release or, perhaps, Rivers of Nihil. It has that progressive metal flair and that sheen or tone works really well with the harsher vocals and more aggressively black metal elements on the track. You can hear this just around the five and a half minute mark, as an extended unison segment between the bass and the guitar explodes into black metal intensity, abrasiveness creating a sharp contrast with what came before.
But Tómarúm’s charm doesn’t end just there; it also lies in how the progressive and complex elements are maintained even when the track is going full tilt. Tómarúm are able to easily combine between the more elaborate and the more aggressive elements of their sound, creating music that doesn’t have to give up the one for the either. Add in some really well composed folk stuff to open the second track, “Crimson Severance”, alongside some effective clean vocals, and you have a busy little EP and one which showcases the promise and proficiency of the band really well. The consensus in the community right now is that these guys are a name to watch and, when actually listening to the release for ourselves, it’s easy to see why. If Tómarúm can build on their intricate, complex, but equally heavy formula, they should be able to achieve great heights within the progressive black metal genre. As it stands, Wounds Ever Expanding is already an excellent release by itself and fully justifies the hype the band have been garnering.