Elsewhere on this month’s Missive (spoiler, Editors’ Picks), you’ll find a few hundred words of me gushing about Tómarúm‘s Ash In Realms of Stone Icons so I won’t waste your time here by re-telling the facts of how awesome the release is. The long and short of it is that it’s awesome for many reasons but the main one is how progressive and eclectic the album is. It’s filled with so many different influences and “sub-sounds” that make up the grandiose canvas we call “metal” and the thing is, all these different musical “streams” are perfectly balanced. This creates an album that puts a lot of other “progressive” albums to shame, by truly experimenting with, and ultimately integrating, so many disparate sounds and styles.
So, what better way to, once again, celebrate the release than with an Anatomy Of post? We had the distinct pleasure of getting Kyle Walburn’s (above, left) picks as part of this post and boy, do they paint a picture! We open with the equally daring, experimental stylings of Warforged, continue into the black metal grandiosity of Caladan Brood, and end with the frigid and sub-genre defining austerity of Iceland’s Sinmara. Along the way, we are exposed to some of the many elements that make Tómarúm’s heart tick and perhaps to some of the most crucial of those elements.
Don’t forget to check out Ash In Realms of Stone Icons itself as well as all of the (truly excellent) albums recommended below.
Kyle Walburn (guitars / vocals / programming)
Warforged – I: Voice
I: Voice has been an extremely important and inspirational album for Brandon and I the past few years; we can both easily say that it’s one of our all-time favorites at this point. This album is the gold standard for modern progressive death metal: complex without sounding showoff-y, savage and intense, yet simultaneously emotional and beautiful. Each song holds up well on its own, but listening to it in its entirety is a breathtaking experience. These are all characteristics we have striven for in our own writing since the beginning, and will continue to do so until the end of the band. The production on this record is also awe-inspiring: beefy and crushing, yet you can hear every little layer and intricacy. We had Pete Grossmann, who mixed I:Voice, mix our record because we felt a similar treatment would suit our sound well.
Caladan Brood – Echoes of Battle
Every moment of grandeur on our record owes itself to Echoes of Battle. I fell in love with this album right when it came out in 2013 and it has steadily remained in my top 5 ever since. I’ve always been super fond of how lush and powerful the orchestrations on this record are, and how they elevate the already excellent compositions to triumphant heights. While we obviously didn’t go down a medieval/fantasy-type route sonically, Echoes of Battle was definitely the main impetus to contrast the bleakness and anguish with epic, triumphant moments, as well as for the incorporation of clean vocals.
Sinmara – Aphotic Womb
As you can probably tell by my band’s name, I’m quite inspired by Icelandic black metal and, to me, Sinmara is the crown jewel of that scene. Aphotic Womb absolutely blew me away the first time I heard it; I was taken aback by how they managed to create something so chaotic and dissonant, yet simultaneously melodic and beautiful. The suffocating atmosphere, beefy guitar tone, and excellent vocals just further sealed the deal for me. For the darker moments on our record, such as in In This Empty Space and As Black Forms From Grey, I directly drew inspiration from songs such as Verminous, and have been continuing to do so as we’ve experimented with dissonance on newer material.