Up-and-coming death metal group Tomb Mold just released their second LP Manor of Infinite Forms this past week. While their debut was undoubtedly praised within metal circles, this new release is a more defined and well-structured record that is definitely an album of the year contender.
Tomb Mold’s rightful success has been obviously fostered by their exceptional quality of music but is also in part due to their hastily consistent output. Since late 2016, the group has put out 5 separate original releases; these consisting of three demos and two full-lengths. This hurried output has surprisingly not hindered the quality of their music, however, as both LPs have been critically-acclaimed within the underground.
Their debut LP Primordial Malignity was released in late 2016 and caused a big splash for the newfound group from Toronto. Back then, Tomb Mold consisted of only two members, Max Klebanoff (drums and vocals) and Derrick Vella (guitars and bass), which makes their early output that much more impressive. With the release of their second LP Manor of Infinite Forms and a coupled North American tour alongside such, the duo added Steve Musgrave and Payson Power to their lineup in order to successfully pull off live performances. As of June 14th, the group will be touring with fellow death metal group Of Feather and Bone for about a month in order to support their new albums (Of Feather and Bone also released their second LP Bestial Hymns of Perversion a few months ago).
Manor of Infinite Forms is a truly captivating record that commits to its promises. Its one of those records whereby a listener can stare into the endless abyss which is the release’s cover art and find themselves being taken into ungodly worlds alongside the music. Just look at that cover, it reveals a new feature every time you look at it. Tracks like “Blood Mirror”, “Chamber of Sacred Ootheca”, and “Two Worlds Become One” paint the picture of this grotesque and endless labyrinth full of indescribable creatures around every corner.
Clocking in at just over 40 minutes in length, Manor of Infinite Forms is a strong response to an already strong debut from the group. While the cavern-like echoing and hard-hitting riffs that pleased listeners of their debut are found once again on this new release, Manor of Infinite Forms offers an aspect of maturity and completeness that was otherwise absent beforehand. Let’s dissect some of the record’s tracks to discover what makes this record so fantastic.
“Abysswalker” was one of the singles released prior to the record’s launch and it was chosen to promote the record for obvious reasons. The track features an endless assault of vocal deliveries which are definitely more varied on this record in comparison to the group’s previous LP. While the familiar guttural vocal deliveries are found throughout, they are accented by higher pitched shrieking segments and a few lower growls which manage to break up the song and album as a whole.
The track features that signature lead guitar lick found throughout the group’s discography that contrasts beautifully with the abrasive nature of the group’s noise. This lead guitar inclusion is coupled with a slower pace rhythm guitar riff that gives the listener a short and deserved break from the chaos. The vocals also descend down this crescendo played by all of the instruments which all come together to create one of those memorable song sections that you can almost sing along to. This segment is repeated a few times throughout the track sparingly and it truly is one of the group’s most defining and characteristic moments.
Most importantly, this song demonstrates the group’s phenomenal song writing capabilities. The track feels perfect in a sense and is one of my favourites on the record.
Two Worlds Become One
This track is undoubtedly Tomb Mold’s most mature and complete individual song. With that being said, it takes the last slot on the record and manages to “wrap up” the full-length rather nicely. The ominous acoustic intro really soothes the ears following the full-frontal assault of the culmination of songs that fell prior. The intro sets the mood for the album’s completion and at first bat it is obvious that this track was written to serve as a monolithic yet inclusionary end to an album of infinite forms.
The song is built upon a catchy yet forward-moving riff that manages to echo throughout the listener’s brain following the record’s consumption (which undoubtedly makes you want to play the album again). The song’s meaning, even just by observing the title “Two Worlds Become One”, alludes to a fusion of the literal and the fictional which is a blurred line that the group flirts with throughout the record. From the way I see it, the album depicts the adventure of a singularity; a mere individual that is caught within the Manor of Infinite Forms, one that can only be described through a wall of abstract and vividly obtuse noise that is Tomb Mold’s musical output.
While the protagonist explores the manor, he comes across sights of his own disbelief, those otherworldly sights that cannot be perceived beyond wild imagination. He comes across a chamber of sacred ootheca, a seemingly endless nest of pregnant entities, eggs ready to hatch; the future unveiled contents presumably horrific. He continues and travels throughout the chambers of this organic palace, uncovering sacred beasts that become increasingly unsightly the deeper they are found.
“Two Worlds Become One” represents the moment that this protagonist uncovers their newfound future. Do they get trapped within this alien dimension or do they wake up from this abstract dream? That is up for the listener to interpret, but nonetheless, this aforementioned blurred line has been stretched out into a vivid world told by nonother than the music.
A recurring theme on my album reviews pertains to a release’s ability to create a feeling or atmosphere that is greater than the mere collection of music it offers. Anyone can strum together a 40 minute record by writing decent songs and compiling them into a release. It does however take a strong musical capability to create a collection of songs that doesn’t just feel like a collection of songs. Manor of Infinite Forms amounts to something new; it culminates and brings the listener through this otherworldly realm with ease. That is the most redeemable factor of this release.
The lack of discussion above regarding actual musical elements tells you how strong this record is. The drums hit hard, the guitar work is exceptional, the vocals are brutal; we’ve all heard it before and this record does it great. It does also provide you with a tale and an adventure which exceeds that of its musical content. As mentioned above, Tomb Mold is currently doing a small tour. Ticket prices are low but the value is high, make sure to stop by if they’re playing a date near you.