Review: T.O.M.B. – Uncovered Ancient Gateways

Review by: S.
Review score: 4/5

Completed at the end of 2009, UAG (Uncovered Ancient Gateways) is a wholly new T.O.M.B. work, it is also a continuation (faze 2) of the experiments that began with Pennhurst (July 2009). These two experiments are leading T.O.M.B. toward the next major work: Fury Nocturnous.

As with Pennhurst, the approach here moves away from the largely Black Metal-structured MNR, back to Sacrilegium era recordings. Meaning: Industrial drone, haunted noise!

Being part of the Pennhurst experiments, location recordings are from the Pennhurst State Hospital in Pennsylvania. This one-time Sanitarium is now a decaying shell, deserted after the accounts of institutional physical and mental cruelty became public knowledge and permanently closed after lengthy prosecutions.
Using techniques originating from the first demo, T.O.M.B. slams metallic receptors into the brittle walls and rusting metal structures within the building, bringing to life the decades old history buried in this Torture Palace.
Other locations visited include: Waverly Hills, Kentucky; an abandoned church in Philadelphia; tombstones; and on Blood Vortex: human blood.
The direct and reverberated sounds gathered – and later manipulated – are very strong. Clean and expansive. Then melted into well-mastered (Satan’s Palace – also MNR) collisions, distortions, abstractions…Noise!

As a full-length recording (approaching one hour) UAG is a complete and single-minded package. Each track explores subtly different techniques, the results vary from punishing power-electronic white blasts (Blood Vortex) to claustrophobic underground drones (Mausoleum Witchcraft). Throughout, the location recordings unify the sound; never allowing your own focus to shift too far. The track titles, e.g., Serpent Moon Seance, Graveyard Requiem, may suggest a different theme, but these too seem more abstract when taken in context. And personally, T.O.M.B.’s ability to choose locations with disturbing histories and shape equally disturbing music – to physically reawaken these places – is always the visual theme behind the sound.

A marked progression as T.O.M.B. continues to master this form of Black Noise brutality. The audio overload and organic, dirty, corporeal manner these recordings are crafted are what set T.O.M.B. apart as a leader within this ugly genre!

Updated: February 15, 2010.

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