Designed to decimate,
The guttural utterances of these lines by Max Klebanoff, drummer and vocalist for Canadian death metal sensations Tomb Mold from the song “Infinite Resurrection,” the lead track from their new album Planetary Clairvoyance, might as well encompass an entire review of this blistering slab of expansive, epic heaviness.
It’s been a short 13 months since Tomb Mold unleashed Manor of Infinite Forms, their stunning second full-length, and here we are again.
It’s not exactly picking up right where they left off, because even with the truncated time between releases, the band takes a huge leap forward. Guitarists Derrick Vella and Payson Power sound like they’re playing at a higher level, perhaps a planetary level. After seeing some of the recording process that the band shared on social media, listening to the album about 150 times over the past several weeks, and catching the band performing four of the new songs live on their 2019 Summer U.S tour with Superstition, it’s still hard to wrap my head around just how good the new songs are and how tight the band is when playing them together.
While there is a jump in the ferocity and agility of the band on the new album, there were clues that this would happen. Two of the tracks featured on a cassette the band released late in 2018. However, in the process of going from a demo-styled cassette to a full-on studio album, the songs have seemingly taken on an entirely new life about them. Truly, there are many aspects of the songs that my untrained ears didn’t pick up on the cassette.
The album is dynamic in the way it produces a sound that feels too big, lending to the album title and much of how I interpreted the lyrics as I read them. There’s something so much bigger about the mindset and sound of this album, more than the great guitar heroics and the frenzied battery of Klebanoff and bassist Steve Musgrave. It’s the layout, the imagery, the album art - everything. The layout benefitted greatly from the work of Musgrave and his love of drawing and art shines in that aspect. Tomb Mold has put together an album that in each sense feels expansive and wild, but simultaneously pummeling and precise. The ability to stop and turn on a dime like Kawhi Leonard on a hesitation move before accelerating forward into a powerful slam dunk.
Adding to the atmosphere of the album is some nice showcasing of the electronic skills of Klebanoff who also mans the project Death Kneel. The track “Phosphorene Ultimate” is the perfect way to pause the onslaught, and build the biomechanics of the following “Infinite Resurrection.” It also gives the feeling of the entire record some air to explore and expand.
Talki to Vella and he’ll tell you that he feels bad for 20 Buck Spin, the label putting out the latest and greatest works from the band, and that he’s going to try to slow down the writing to give us all, though mostly Dave Adelson, a break between storms, but when these albums turn into planetary-scale events, I can’t help but hope that they can’t help themselves by writing more of this stellar material sooner rather than later.
Not to get ahead of ourselves, this record should stand the test of time and make for engaging repeated listening. So get this album, put it on, and as Klebanoff growls, let us “surrender our diminished selves to the all-consuming exuberance” that we’ve got a new Tomb Mold album to listen to and it’s amazing.