Sep 092011

“Crushing” is a great descriptive word for certain kinds of metal, which is why it’s used so often. It’s a very physical word — it refers to a physical act of destruction, and the obliteration of something solid into pieces, rendering it no longer recognizablle as what it was.

An argument can be made that the word is overused. I don’t pay attention to those arguments, because although I work hard on my vocabulary, there aren’t many other words that convey the meaning of “crushing”. To me, it connotes the decimating effect of massive, irresistable weight brought down hard on something relatively fragile. Like my skull, or yours.

“Crushing” is the dominant word that came to mind when I watched three live videos late yesterday by Tombs. I feel guilty about Tombs, because I’ve been overwhelmed by their June 2011 album Path of Totality, and although I’ve featured songs from that album before (here), I’ve never repaid the favor of this music with a review. I take solace from the fact that I’ve similarly defaulted on my moral obligations to dozens of other bands. In this way, the more you repeat the same mistake, the less consequential the mistake becomes. The human capacity for self-delusion is amazing, and amazingly wonderful.

Where was I? Oh yeah — Tombs. I’ve always had trouble trying to classify their music. It’s part American black metal, part catastrophic doom, part grindcore, part sludge. I can’t fix on a genre label, which I suppose is why I revert to the word “crushing”. (more after the jump . . .)

The sound on these three videos is excellent. It’s immediate and it’s powerful and it’s hopeless. It embodies the conundrum that lurks in the light-sucking black hole of certain kinds of metal: How is it that we can love music that so effectively embodies a bottomless void, populated solely by the shrieking bodies of others falling alongside you, being sucked into the same gravity well of oblivion, engulfed by the same demonic rhythms as a final farewell? If you figure it out, let me know.

There’s a reason why the sound on these videos is so good: It’s because the performances were filmed at the Violitionist studios in Denton, Texas, on June 16. And what’s even better is that Tombs and Violitionist are making these live recordings available for free download RIGHT FUCKING HERE.

Here are the three video tracks. Prepare yourself to be crushed.

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