Tombs - Fear is the Weapon (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Fear is the Weapon (2011)

Relapse Records

If Path of Totality was Tombs' crowning achievement--and it is, so far--then Fear is the Weapon is the victory lap. While it's odd that a rarities comp would itself have a limited run (of 1,000), Fear nonetheless comes at a perfect time for newer fans, introducing them to Tombs' sludge metal discography. Path is where the band is at now; Fear is where they've been.

For older fans, though, Fear might come off as a little redundant, as half of the tracks come from the band's self-titled debut EP. Tombs isn't exactly hard to find, so its presence can be seen as either indicative of a lack of rarities on Tombs' part, or as essentially a deluxe edition of Tombs. Either way, these first seven songs still hold up five years later. The production is a little more lo-fi compared to where Tombs went later on, but it suits the sludginess of the songs. "Fountain of the World 666" is a strong opener, "Course of Empire" shows that Tombs can still be heavy when they slow it down and "Calvaire" gets pretty darn dissonant. This shit still shreds.

Next up is a handful of tracks from a 2008 split with Planks. That's legitimately out of print, so it's a welcome addition here. "Cypress" opens with some early Sabbath soft flourishes before shifting into a punk stomper at the three-minute mark, only to then shift into and out of dissonant metal screaming over the remaining four minutes. It's a little jarring, but in a good way. "Gods of Love & Suicide" and "Cheval Noir" are more focused by comparison simply because they're shorter and therefore get to the grinding bits quicker.

That leaves some demos from Winterhours to round out the collection. There's not much to say on these--Do you like "Gossamer?" Wanna hear an unfinished version of it?--but again, this release feels geared more towards recent converts. While it's true that rarities comps don't have much to offer for diehard fans of a given band, it feels especially true with Tombs. Most of these songs are still readily available in some form or another, minus the Planks split. Still, this collection puts the band's work from 2007-08 in one place, and that's not a bad thing.