Incoming: T.O.M.B. – UAG (Uncovered Ancient Gateways) US Black Noise

Before the end of the month we will have copies of the new T.O.M.B. LP, UAG!

Macabre Noize Royale is currently unavailable but we still have:

Uncovered Ancient Gateways was completed at the end of 2009, and we reviewed it in early 2010. Click here for the full T.O.M.B. – UAG review.

For nearly a decade now, the shadowy collective known as T.O.M.B. (or Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) have been creating a particular brand of industrial death worship with some of creepiest recordings that I’ve heard out of this realm. I discovered the band through their 2007 album Macabre Noize Royale on Todestrieb, whose grating industrial rhythms, blasts of blackened noise and malformed black metal left my skull a charred husk, and I’ve been following their clandestine electro-acoustic experiments and rituals of corpse-abuse ever since. Now, T.O.M.B. have brought us their latest album (and first for Crucial Blast) UAG (or Undercovered Ancient Gateways, and it follows the group of crypt-crawlers through eleven tracks of suffocating black ambience and lifeless industrial pummel that strips away most of the black metal elements of previous releases, crafting a more abstract, ambient sound this time around.
The band has largely distinguished their approach to black industrial because of the sound sources they use; making their way into abandoned sanitariums, morgues, decaying crypts, and other sites of psychological and spiritual distress (such as the Pennhurst State Hospital in Pennsylvania, and Kentucky’s infamous Waverly Hills), the members of T.O.M.B. capture the natural ambience of these locations with field recorded sounds, and engage in pounding percussive workouts by banging and hammering on the very walls and structures of these sites. These rumbling industrial rituals result is a mix of Neubauten-esque bashing and rhythmic forms combined with crushing harsh industrial noise and lightless black ambient voids, sculpted into a uniquely haunted industrial ambience on UAG. As far as references go, I hear traces of death industrial (a la Atrax Morgue / Subklinik / Mauthausen Orchestra / Brighter Death Now) here, as well as the black industrial weirdness of bands like Abruptum, MZ412, and Stalagggh, but there’s also echoes of Lustmord’s early work here as well in the cavernous black spaces that T.O.M.B. explores.
There is no narrative here, nothing resembling “mood music”; each track flows directly into the next, the album crawling and breathing as a single malevolent organism. The title track opens the album with massive metallic reverberations rumble through vast cavernous realms of darkness and roaring subterranean maelstrom, corrosive distorted noise washing over the pounding sheet-metal percussion and almost tribal-like rhythms, like the howling of the dead emanating from the bowels of the earth. Then “Torment” creeps in, layering agonized distorted howls and monstrous moaning vocalizations over sweeping noise and a pulsating distorted synth, the whole sound drifting through an echo-chamber of hallucinatory horror, then slipping into the swelling subterranean rumblings, juddering machine rhythms and pounding cemetery gate rhythms of “Mausoleum Witchcraft”. The subsequent depths of the Underground Ancient Gateways are further infested with these rattling infernal engines and massive rumbling dronescapes, violent metal percussion, ghostly effects and mysterious sounds drifting across the abyssal emptiness, various nightmarish vocalizations, the pounding drums and other hammered objects a constant presence.
Some of the album’s more disturbing moments appear on the psychedelic noise eruption “Blood Vortex” that resembles one of CCCC’s extreme synth-noise meltdowns, a mass of swarming electronic glitch whirling over smeared drones and distant machine noise that apparently used actual blood as a sound source; the snarling, teeth-gnashing blood ritual chaos of the “Tribe Of The Corpse” gives way to the dank Lustmordian depths of “Graveyard Requiem”; and the twelve-minute “EMPLEH”, where the cavernous ambience transforms into twisted atonal guitar noise, distant cries, and eerie howls cloaked in thick black fog, later revealing warped, quasi-black-metal shapes as it drifts deeper and deeper into the pit. The closest that the album ever approaches anything resembling black metal, though, is on the psychotic blastscape “Leech”, where those faint, programmed blastbeats drift up out of a hazy dungeon ambience amid snarling demonic vocals and reverb-soaked synthesizers. The one piece on UAG that really gets under my skin though is “Cadaver Transmissions”, a recording of contact mic scrapings across the rotting flesh of an actual corpse, backed by echoing black drift, creating the blackest of ambient soundscapes on what is already a supremely unsettling listening experience.
Highly recommended to fans of blackened industrial and black ambience. Comes in a full-color digipack.


T.O.M.B. Live on WFMU’s My Castle of Quiet, 5.12.2010

This is an old story but we never posted a link to this special set performed by T.O.M.B. back in May of 2010.

Last Wednesday’s T.O.M.B. set leaves even a verbose guy like myself somewhat at a loss for adjectives. What T.O.M.B. did was execute a through-composed, thoughtfully executed set, of album-like proportions and pacing. Sonically, just to entice you, I could make comparisons to TG’s Mission of Dead Souls, were it laid atop some of the more well-orchestrated doom metal of the day – are you effectively grabbed?

T.O.M.B. Live on WFMU’s My Castle of Quiet, 5.12.2010

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.

a band called T.O.M.B. that’s really amazing – Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth founder and guitarist Thurston Moore, in an interview with Decibel, discussed his interest in Black Metal and saved particular praise for T.O.M.B. and the recent album Macabre Noize Royale. Page 2 has the interview.

There’s also a band called T.O.M.B. that’s really amazing—their new one is great.

In other T.O.M.B. news:
Work is nearing the final stages on a new EP entitled Uncovered Ancient Gateways. Mastering will take place next week on 9/11/09.
Fury Nocturnous, the second album and follow-up to Macabre Noize Royale, will then be completed.

New T.O.M.B. track to hear

T.O.M.B. has posted a new recording on the official myspace page. Perverse Crematory Pleasures was compiled in late 2008. The central field recording, which is distorted, manipulated and overlapped; is a corpse being burned in a crematory. A process T.O.M.B. attended solely to gather material for this black ambient track.

T.O.M.B. manages to capture the raw fury of a body being reduced to it’s elements.

This will be T.O.M.B.’s offering on a forthcoming 3-way split. We won’t be releasing this, but will be spreading copies when it’s out.

T.O.M.B. Macabre Noize Royale documentary video complete

As has become traditional with major T.O.M.B. releases, a video has been crafted documenting the latest Black Noise epic. T.O.M.B. visited some of Pennsylvania’s darkest landmarks to collect field recordings. Smashing through metal to reawaken the agonizing history of these places. The second half of the video plays Fog Ritual over footage. Fog Ritual only hints at the diversity that awaits in the complete album.

The latest T.O.M.B. material has also been added to the official site. “Maz ov tha Damd” was recorded at Norristown State Mental Hospital on ‘Good Friday’ March 21st 2008 at 3:33am. No drums, guitars, or synth used in this track.