SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., March 20, 2009
Room 710, Friday, March 20
Tombs' Relapse Records debut, Winter Hours, holds steady to a glacial pace, and being a hot-shit metal trio from Brooklyn holds you to a certain standard of accessibility. How did Tombs unite the two extremes? Extreme metal calls for squall, and Tombs certainly had that in shoegaze spades. Their set was deafeningly loud, accentuated by two full stacks of amps, but not particularly dynamic in the slow/fast/slow tradition, trying out all the hackneyed metal breakdowns. In fact, it was a bit tedious. The trio could be a great instrumental band if singer Mike Hill didn't cut in with his Ricola-free saltwater growl and if the band changed things up every once in a while. The vocals were secondary to the band's volume, which is what the threepiece peddles best, animated bassist Carson Daniel James and drummer Justin Ennis providing the heat and eardrum-ringing aftershock. Winter Hours is a spare half-hour, but this set made it feel gray, dark, cold. Live, the album needs more engagement, something that would set Tombs apart from other similarly glacial sounds on Relapse.