Tomb Mold
The Enduring Spirit


3.7
great

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
September 16th, 2023 | 158 replies


Release Date: 09/15/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Into new, prog(ish) territory

Few old-school death metal bands have made such an impression on the underground scene in the second half of the last decade as Canada's Tomb Mold. Not exactly for their out-of-the-box take on the genre, but for how they blend a wide range of influences from both sides of the Atlantic into a cohesive and exciting formula. The title track off their sophomore album, Manor of Infinite Forms, somehow sums up the band's scope by combining 1990s American and Finnish death metal in a contemporary recipe with a modern twist. A comprehensive approach that has evolved over a short period of time (2016 - 2019) towards greater sophistication and technical refinement, both musically and production-wise. Planetary Clairvoyance's more polished yet atmospheric nature and its varied song structures have allowed the band to push their sonic boundaries even further, while sending the message that they will not fall into creative loops or overly predictable territory. An unwritten rule that has since been confirmed by last year’s three-track release, Aperture of Body, and now by Tomb Mold's third full-length, The Enduring Spirit, which strays from the original path to explore more techy, progressive soundscapes. Although bands like Death, Cynic or Atheist (Unquestionable Presence-era) were already part of the band's influences, never had the prog(ish) layer taken on such a preponderant role, now being the stylistic core through which the music orbits.

I must confess I didn't immediately fall for The Enduring Spiritʼs adventurous personality, either due to the element of surprise or for purely aesthetic reasons, such as the constant overlapping of gutturals and guitar leads that often run over each other, jamming the music unnecessarily, not letting it breathe. Overlays aren't necessarily detrimental, particularly in more progressive formulas, nor am I someone who believes all music must have oxygen, but they don't always fit well with the band's new approach to songwriting, at least in my eyes. That said, and despite its inconsistencies, The Enduring Spirit is much more than an occasional juxtaposition; it not only embodies the boys' will to move forward without repeating themselves, but it is also imaginatively bold and inquisitive, not hesitant to take chances or break with the past. The otherworldly soft, clean passage in the second half of 'Will Of Whispers' is the most accomplished illustration of the band's new face, along with the multiple techy segments, which not only draw from the early 90s classics but also from more recent or even contemporary sources, such as Gorod (Leading Vision-era) and Blood Incantation, respectively. A recipe that takes Tomb Mold out of yesterday's filthy OSDM caverns and throws them into Horrendous territory.

The Enduring Spirit is a journey of contrasts that swings between the two ends of the spectrum. While the 11-minute track 'The Enduring Spirit of Calamity' showcases the calmer, more atmospheric side of the album and Derrick Vella's enthusiasm for extended solos, 'Angelic Fabrications' and 'Flesh As Armour' highlight its heavier, more temperamental facet. And it's in these hot-blooded moments that I keep finding Tomb Mold's greatest strengths and the segments that thrill me the most, be they the frenetic kick-off and subsequent slow-paced Gorod-ish section in the opener, 'The Perfect Memory (Phantasm Of Aura), the tasty syncopated groove on 'Angelic Fabrications', or the uptempo passages in songs like 'Fate’s Tangled Thread' and 'Flesh As Armour', with the latter featuring Max Klebanoff's best performance. As a matter of fact, never has Max shone as brightly as he does now or been so in sync with Derrick's riffing, with the combo often operating as a single organism. A renewed synergy boosted by a clean yet organic production, suitable for the more technical and progressive musical direction.

While not without its songwriting inconsistencies, The Enduring Spirit has the supreme merit of forging ahead and exploring new prog(ish) territory, unafraid to take risks or sow distrust and confusion among the more conservative fanbase. And that alone is much more important than my or your assessment of it, as it embodies the very essence of the (enduring) creative spirit.




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3.9
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2023


18753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I always respect bands/artists that choose to move forward.



YouTube stream:

http://youtu.be/rLHtdAy-h6Q?si=9Rh_Nh6ZU-agkl9M



Bandcamp stream:

http://20buckspin.bandcamp.com/album/the-enduring-spirit

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
September 16th 2023


3628 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Need to jam the album more but i have to say i lean towards your side of the fence here, NoTrap. Nice review!

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2023


18753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Thanks ;)

ChaoticVortex
September 16th 2023


1522 Comments


Good effin Lord, how does one keep up with all the quality DM that's coming out on almost a weekly basis?

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2023


18753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Yep there's a lot of good stuff going on. This weekend I want to jam Fabricant and start diving into Cannibal Corpse

Frost15
September 16th 2023


2139 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Good review, I mostly agree with everything although I'm not going to hide that this album's problems made me score it a bit lower. I do appreciate bands exploring new grounds, but I don't think this adventurous spirit made this band take a step forward from Planet Clairvoyance (which I still dig a lot).

But you know, sometimes it's a step back and then two steps forward, who knows...

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2023


18753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Moving on/forward isn’t synonymous with improvement ;)

Wizard
September 16th 2023


20450 Comments


A little quick with the review considering no one had this until yesterday, not even a leak could be found.

You’re a good writer though and so far, I agree with your points. This is going to take some time as there is way too many awesome passages to sink in.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2023


18753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Cheers. I got the promo a couple of days earlier

Wizard
September 16th 2023


20450 Comments


Damn you!!!! All good, love your enthusiasm for all things dm.

slikphuk
September 16th 2023


606 Comments


awesome review as always, didnt even know these guys had a new one coming out, pretty stoked to hear this m/

Hawks
September 16th 2023


79515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's their best men. m///

metalphil
September 17th 2023


498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hate this band's name but this album is good. Love the proggy direction they took this.

TheArtofTheGanja
September 17th 2023


386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The beginning of Will of Whispers sounds like Focus-era Cynic and I'm here for it

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2023


18753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

The soft, clean passages in the second half of that song are great.

Thanks, slikphuk. It's always nice to see you around

fabiodrums
September 17th 2023


9 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

How to ruin one of the best death metal band ever, that from Primordial Malignity to Aperture Of Body was perfect. The only reason is that Vella’s brain must have burned out. R.I.P.

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
September 17th 2023


11424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Kinda bullshit how good this is, I can’t call them overrated and mid anymore sadge

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
September 17th 2023


24750 Comments


the chick corea rip off parts instantly make this lose a whole star.

honestly you delete the clear guitars and this is far and away their best effort.

Wizard
September 17th 2023


20450 Comments


Loving the proggy approach on this.

Their best? Still up for debate.

Wizard
September 17th 2023


20450 Comments


How to ruin one of the best death metal band ever, that from Primordial Malignity to Aperture Of Body was perfect. The only reason is that Vella’s brain must have burned out. R.I.P.

Dude no offense, listen to more dm. That was a tiny sampling you picked from and exclaimed them to be "best death metal band ever"?



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