Given the obvious influences affecting today’s mustard-yellow EP in question, let me just slip into this cozy confessional & state the uncomfortable truth: all things considered, I could probably live in a world without EYEHATEGOD. Despite undeniable deity status in certain circles, Mike William’s particular vocal quality has never rubbed me the right way--nor, for that matter, the wrong way. Franky, it just doesn’t really rub me at all (and now, pardon me for a minute whilst I hand in my sludge card.)
This isn’t to say, however, that I could live (or even remotely enjoy) a sludge-less existence. As a genre, it remains a toxic concoction, combining the depressive gloom of doom with the sheer rabidity of hardcore. It’s messy. It’s dirty. It’s a sputtering engine, suffocating in grease and drowning in mud. For a relatively simple formula, Tombtoker’s particular brand is a distillation of everything I find appealing about sludge metal. Cobbled together from the sarcophagal scraps of metal history--Black Sabbath, Weedeater, Iron Monkey, Black Flag, Crowbar, Wolf Blood, the aforementioned EYEHATEGOD, & maybe even a lil’ Neurosis--Coffin Texts, Tombtoker’s forthcoming debut EP, is a well-conceived effort. And that’s putting it lightly.
Starting from the ground up, Tombtoker plays stoner doom with a punky, aggressive, and otherwise rusty edge. The sonic qualities of the bands listed above are all prevalent, but Coffin Texts doesn’t necessarily feel like a regurgitation of existing material. It’s a unique bent on the whole genre package, and this outfit’s obvious skill and ability to write intriguing songs are undeniable. Armed with hooks-a-plenty, these are the kind of tunes that drag you down with ease. For the most part, the dual guitars grip tightly to each other, establishing a pythonian groove early on. That said, the occasional solo rises from the muck, and if not for these moments, the duality would feel underutilized. The riffs are crunchy as one might expect, and then some--slow, dense, an algae-coated Sasquatch wading through the Northeastern wilderness.
While sludge often suffers from, well, a sludgy mix, Coffin Texts sounds pretty damn fine. The bass work here is worth a special mention. Like a besmirched baker vengefully frosting a shit cake, Mr. Hagen lays it down with a disgustingly thick intensity. “Warfare revolution” and “Blood freak” carry themselves with an unprecedented weight, while finisher “Globster” feels like it was written exclusively to showcase that meaty low end. Vocally, Mark Kuczak’s deep growl and rusty bark never overpowers the guitar (or drums, for that matter). He’s got a helluva lot hidden up his sleeve, and over the course of the EP, reveals a bevy of vocal deliveries. This only adds to Tombtoker’s noteworthy dynamism.
Standout tracks? It is to Coffin Texts’ extreme credit that choosing is, in fact, an impossibility. Every track contained within this 20ish minute runtime has its own slimy charm, and over numerous visitations, listening to this beast from top to bottom is an inevitability. Bottom line? Tombtoker does sludge metal proud.
These guys have been on my radar since they first starting liking my instagram posts (hey, vanity pays!) Needless to say, the Sleeping Village shall be following Tombtoker quite intently from this point forward. Coffin Texts is a very high quality debut. Heartfelt recommendations are in order
Coffin Texts releases Dec. 7th from Seeing Red Records. In the meantime, may I point you in the direction of that $6.66 preorder? Don’t mind if I do.
Tombtoker can be found at:
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.