Tuesday, April 5, 2011

T.O.M.B. - "UAG (Uncovered Ancient Gateways)" (2010) [Todestrieb Records]

I still remember the first time I heard about T.O.M.B. (short for Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy). I was at the Matchitehew Assembly, a rather large black metal and noise festival in Chicago, in July of 2009, and some rather strange looking fellow, sort of like The Crow meets Nic Cage with extra piercings and an undercut, would NOT shut up about this band "TOMB"'s album "Macabre Noize Royale," the culmination of many years of breaking into haunted places and using metal structures (among other things) for percussion. Seeing that I was rather new to the whole "noise" concept, I was rather perturbed. Who would break into supposedly haunted places to make black metal? Who would mix in noise with their black metal?

Why was I asking myself so many questions?

Okay so I was curious...and a bit interested, to say the least. I went home and I dug up some mp3s of "Macabre Noize Royale," only to find that the material was actually pretty awesome. Of course, with the way that I discover music, I sort of stopped listening to T.O.M.B. altogether and went about with my life (to TOMB: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to!). So everything sort of remained T.O.M.B.-less until I got an e-mail from a mysterious "NoOne" in mid-February.

Holy crap, T.O.M.B. had found me! So, 4 discs later (in special embossed TOTAL OCCULTIC MECHANICAL BLASPHEMY envelopes, I might add) and a few months of digesting, here we are with last year's "UAG (Uncovered Ancient Gateways)", a continuation of 2009's "Penn Hurst" sessions.

Now, I should probably warn all of you that this is noise, as in, straight up noise. Not any of that harsh noise wall stuff like The Rita, Vomir, et cetera, but something rather dynamic, with punctuation sections of creepy ambience and loud, LOUD metallic percussion. Throughout this hour-long descent into hell I find myself looking over my shoulders, making sure my roommate's closet is open, and praying to whatever might help me that there is not something under my bed - I'm being completely honest here, it is truly that unsettling.

After some research, I found out that the samples used to make this album were recorded in the abandoned Pennhurst sanitarium in Pennsylvania, Waverly Hills, Kentucky, a tombstone, and, of course, he rubbed a contact microphone in blood. It's strange, I normally would take something like this with a really big grain of salt, but after conversations with this fellow (whose name I still don't know)...he really is serious about it. Serious enough to send me a video of himself recording the bonus track "Cadaver Transmissions," where he, I kid you not, rubbed a contact microphone, rather violently, on a corpse. I've had nightmares about that short clip.

Death, destruction, madness, noise. Pretty much sums it up. A cool listen for those of us who enjoy noise, and maybe a nice jumping off point into the genre for those too steadfast in their ways to try it before. Prepare yourself for the descent into your nightmares.



  1. You should DEF. check out: T.O.M.B. Total Mechanical Blasphemy II(fall of nature records) and XESSE... Great review,THOROUS


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