Jul 122019


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Toronto’s Tomb Mold, which will be released on July 19 by 20 Buck Spin.)

Manor of Infinite Forms was overrated.

There, I said it.

But wait… put down your pitchforks and douse your torches and let me explain.


photo by Jake Ballah


Manor of Infinite Forms is, undoubtedly, a great album. So much so that I included it on my list of “Great” albums from 2018.

But the sheer volume (both in size and loudness) of hype it received in certain quarters of the Metalsphere always felt a little excessive to me, as if a good proportion of the Metal press had somehow lost all sense of independence or objectivity and gotten themselves caught up in an endless feedback loop, constantly echoing and amplifying one another’s opinions with increasingly ludicrous amounts of exaggeration and embellishment.

It also didn’t/doesn’t give these writers and critics much room to manoeuvre. After all, if Manor… really was the greatest thing to happen to Death Metal since the late ’80s (spoiler: it’s not) then what happens if the band’s follow-up is somehow even better (spoiler: it is)?


That’s something which other sites are going to have to reckon with on their own terms and in their own time, of course. Here at NCS, however, we’re faced with no such dilemma, and can state, with confidence, that Planetary Clairvoyance is exactly the sort of album to justify all the hype and excess praise which surrounded its predecessor’s release, even to the point of making that album seem, retroactively, like a mere stepping-stone on the band’s path towards something truly great.

Again, I don’t mean to run down Manor of Infinite Forms or denigrate anyone who loves that album. It’s simply that Planetary… is just that little bit sharper, that little bit smarter, and that little bit stronger – in practically every aspect – that it’s almost impossible (for me anyway) not to compare the two and find the former just that little bit lacking.

Of course in the grand scheme of things this is really just an argument about what separates an 8 out of 10 from a 9 out of 10, so it’s not like you should all be rushing out to burn all your copies of the band’s previous records in favour of “the one true Tomb Mold”.

Instead, why not join me in celebrating all the little ways in which the Canadian quartet have tweaked and improved their sound this time around?

Obviously the band’s primary touchstones – basically a three-way tie between Demilich, Incantation, and Autopsy – remain pretty much the same, but the more time I spend with it the more I become aware of all the ways in which Planetary Clairvoyance is notably, albeit subtly, proggier than its predecessor, showcasing an evolution in dynamics and composition which reminds me of the organic growth shown by Death between Spiritual Healing and Human, or the brilliant redefinition of Carcass, circa-Necroticsm…

Heck, there are even moments where the barbed technicality of the riffage puts me in mind of classic Mithras or latter-day Zealotry, which (as I’m sure you’re aware) is no bad thing!

Whether it’s the electrifying energy and relentless momentum of massive opener “Beg for Life”, the gruesome grooves and spiteful melodies of “Infinite Resurrection”, or the labyrinthine metallic malevolence of closer “Heat Death”, pretty much everything about Planetary Clairvoyance represents a band finally growing into their full promise and potential.

It’s more than just Manor… 2.0, it’s a stunning affirmation of the band’s standing as one of Death Metal’s modern-day big-hitters, as well as a visceral repudiation of everyone (myself included) who may have doubted the band’s brutal bona fides before now!







  1. I’ve got to agree with you about ‘Manor..’ and felt that labelmates Scorched should have had more recognition than Tomb Mold, for their 2018 ‘Ecliptic Butchery’ album! Listening to a few of the new ‘Planetary..’ tracks, though, I’m sensing tighter, more cohesive material from Tomb Mold and I’m looking forward to hearing this one in full!

    • You know I’ve never commented before, but I lurk on here and read reviews and what not – actually have for several years now, keep up the great work!

      Anyway, I saw this comment and felt compelled to echo the sentiment that Scorched – Ecliptic Butchery was the death metal album of 2018 and Tomb Mold was over-hyped compared to that album!

      Now if only 20 Buck Spin would restock their sick Scorched long sleeves so I can spread the good word!!

      Anyway stoked to hear this album in full, going to see Tomb Mold next week!

      • Quelle coïncidence. I was just listening to that Scorched yesterday ! mon amie. It was is great. I also thought Death Velour was fantastic death metal for the last year. By GHASTLY.

      • Nah man Obliteration – Cenotaph Obscure was AOTY for 2018 with Horrendous right behind

        • You know, every time Obliteration and Horrendous release albums I check them out, and every time for some reason I can’t really get into them. Maybe I’m just not sitting down and giving them a proper chance to pull me in. Or perhaps more likely, there is something very wrong with me.

          I’ll give their newest albums another listen, and I’ll check out Ghastly’s album as well

  2. Was Manor overhyped ? Maybe, but nowhere near the level of over-hyped-ness of another release last year by Sludgde.

    My hot take (s): Sludgde more overhyped ; Manor of Infinite Forms the better record…

    PS, this TombMold band photo up there is suh – weeet !

  3. I don’t read a ton of metal sites so maybe I missed the hype, but to me Manor was up there with Necrot’s Blood Offerings for one of the best DM albums in recent years. I can see how constant hype would get annoying though. Best not to pay attention to it, especially considering that in the greater scheme of things Tomb Mold are still pretty underground. Can’t wait to hear Planetary Clairvoyance in in full.

    I thought Outer Heaven was a little overrated … pretty good, but not as amazing as some made it out to be.

    However, I wholeheartedly agree with my fellow commenters that the Scorched album was criminally underrated! I still listen to it often and I hope those guys get their shit together and continue to play and write new music.

    • I also agree that Scorched was/were/are great. In fact I need to go back to that album again asap.

      I loved that Outer Heaven record though (hence why it got a spot on my “Critical Top Ten” list).

      My personal preference was for Baest’s “Danse Macabre”, and I can’t wait to hear their follow-up!

      • I’ve been digging that Outer Heaven album lately too. I missed them with Nails, Misery Index and Ulthar recently and I really regret that, but they’re gonna open for Pig Destroyer in September in Baltimore so I plan on catching them there.

        I agree that Outer Heaven’s album is also a bit overrated, but still great. I felt like maybe it could’ve used a few less midpace-y sections and a few more fast parts or something, just a little more dynamic.

        I’ll have to check out Baest – Danse Macabre, haven’t heard of that one!

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