Tombs - Path Of Totality

Tombs’ Path Of Totality topped my list of the Top 26 Metal Albums Of 2011 So Far. I was curious what sort of personal soundtrack went into that muscular, violent, surprisingly delicate and detailed blend of New York noise-rock, black metal, and industrialized blast-beat shoegaze, so I asked them to make a related mix for our new playlist franchise Under The Influence. Before you listen, take a look at vocalist/guitarist/band leader Mike Hill’s thoughts on his appropriately dark, punk, and very heavy inspiration playlist. He offers insightful background for fans of the album/trio, but even if you’re not into Tombs, listening to classic Black Flag transition into Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam Gorgoroth or Streetcleaner into Ulcerate is completely killer.

We worked on the songs that would eventually become the album Path of Totality for the better part of two years. I compiled a list of songs that stand out in my mind as either being a direct influence on my writing or may have somehow captured a moment during the process.

The tracks “Black Planet,” “Paralyzed,” “Nothing Changes,” and “Dead Oceans” were part of a playlist that I had on my iPod during the winter of 2010. At that point, we had agreed to record the next record at the end of the year. I was unemployed at the time so I had a lot of time to spend at the practice space working on the demo for our impending recording session. I had these tracks playing in my headphones during my long, cold walk down to the space. They were total winter songs; I’d work out for a few hours and head to the space, it was always getting dark by the time I arrived and it was pitch black when I left.

Leviathan and Lurker of Chalice are huge influences on my writing, “6116″ and “Vortex Chalice” were in heavy rotation in the van during this time frame.

We recorded “Path” at Elmwood Studio with John Congleton, in Dallas, so we toured our way down to the session. The other guys flew back to New York when they finished their tracks and I remained to lay down guitar and vocals, and hung out for the mix. I drove the van, filled with gear, all the way back on my own. It was a long, long ride to make alone. I drove many late night hours, eating up miles alternating between Christian Fundamental radio and rad tracks like “Dead Head,” “The Blind Man,” “God Seed,” and “Temple of Depression.” I also listened to the Doug Stanhope Acid Bootleg on the final four hours of the trip.

Path Of Totality is out now via Relapse. (Don’t forget the recent mixes by Servile Sect and Deafheaven.)

Tombs 2011
[Band photo by Jason Hellmann. That's Hill in the middle.]

Comments (8)
  1. Really digging these UTI articles man! Nice wee addition to the reviews etc.

  2. brandon – really digging this ‘mix series’ of sorts. i’m discovering all sorts of great shit through them. in fact, i’ve been on a walknut binge ever since the servile sect playlist. where have these guys been all my life?

  3. The Sisters, Celtic Frost, and Black Flag in the same mix? I’m so down.

  4. Yes, definitely like these playlist articles. re: Tombs…damn! I spent this whole year looking forward to the new Morne (which is good but perhaps a little too smoothed over from what I was expecting), and instead I can’t get Path of Totality out of rotation! Brilliant album…

  5. Thanks for the feedback, sirs. (And, of course, agreed Matt: Such an amazing album.)

  6. It always blows my mind how perfectly you can describe an album.

    I wasn’t all that big on Path.. at first, I just didn’t really get the hype, but I’ve had it on repeat to try and “get” it, and it’s definitely a grower. I’m enjoying it a lot more now that I’ve sat down and REALLY listened to it.

    I’ll get back to you all with my final verdict soon (and I know you’ll be holding your breath)

  7. cool album and mix. and i love the band picture. definitely how you would imagine them looking. like russian mafia or something haha

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