Tombs - All Empires Fall (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


All Empires Fall (2016)

Relapse Records

Tombs is a five piece experimental metal band from Brooklyn led by guitarist/vocalist Mike Hill. They’ve been around since 2007 and have three full lengths and a couple of EPs to their credit. In this case, experimental seems to mean that they don’t stick to any one particular style. All Empires Fall is a five track, 23 minute EP where no two songs sound the same. Like Tombs’ previous LPs, it’s on powerhouse metal label Relapse Records.

Instrumental opener “The World is Made of Fire” is keyboard driven prog rock worthy of a Pink Floyd record, at least until the heavy guitars kick in. “Obsidian” is nearly straight up orchestral black metal with just a hint of ambient noise. “Last Days of Sunlight” shifts gears considerably, and is something like a slightly heavier take on Joy Division or The Sisters of Mercy. The instrumentation is sparse, and the vocals are a clean, deep baritone. “Deceiver” might be the best song on All Empires Fall. It’s about as close as Tombs gets to traditional metal song structure, albeit with blackened death metal vox and a creepy female spoken word section. Closer “V” is the EP’s longest and most ambitious song. It combines the elements from all of the previous songs.

For the most part, All Empires Fall manages to successfully blend its many styles and influences. While Tombs pushes genre boundaries, they don’t really break any new ground. On the plus side, there’s enough musical variety to keep this from getting bogged down. Overall it’s not a bad listen, but headbangers aren’t necessarily known for being open minded. This might just be a little too artsy-fartsy for the average metalhead.