Tombstalker returns with death metal EP Tombstalker
Reviewed by Damon

Reinvigorating rotting flesh is the name of the game

Tombstalker’s new EP, Age of Darkness, kicks off with “Astral Combat”—anxious riffs scratch at the walls of space and the vocals belch and rasp beneath a force manifested as the violence of drums. At 2 minutes the rhythm drops into a heavy groove and slower pace that the band rides, pulling back or leaning in as needed.

Death and black metal bands are especially strict followers of tradition. These genres emulate by way of imitation. The music always asserts the single-string-drilling riffs and double-bass drumming. The personality of the singer is anonymized and dehumanized, subordinated to the sound of the beast. Even the lyrics often make allusions to earlier eras and old myths and sometimes even draw on middle English. “Astral Combat,” “Titan Warlord,” and “Final Night”—three of the four songs on this EP—are happy to respect tradition.

But title track “Age of Darkness” marks the EP’s high point. A pair of acoustic guitars tell a story to the rain falling outside an open window. The recording is lo-fi—moody, brooding, effective.

Tombstalker is scheduled to play a few U.S. dates in early June: Lexington, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Atlanta.

The band released some EPs and singles before its only full-length, 2015’s Black Crusades, which has a stronger black-metal flavor than this. After touring with that album, the band went on hiatus and changed members. Now the band returns with Age of Darkness—it sounds less black, more death.

The new EP will be released May 29 on Boris Records with Morbid Aggressor Productions.

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