Pennhurst / Xesse


"Primevil Sorcery" the eleven-minute opener, has a truly dark, hopeless feel to it, with what […]
By Andrew Sifari
April 23, 2014
T.O.M.B. - Pennhurst / Xesse album cover

"Primevil Sorcery" the eleven-minute opener, has a truly dark, hopeless feel to it, with what sounds like howling winds reverberating in a deep chasm. It is jarring and unsettling, much like the compilation as a whole. "Maz Ov Tha Damd" grinds along to the frantic beat of drums underneath the gravelly bass. While the songs' structures are far from traditional, the progression of sounds makes a lot of sense in the context of each track. The rhythm feels random and yet, not random at the same time, standing out alone in a way that drums don't normally in Metal music and creating a kind of manic urgency that adds to the song's infernal ambience.

"Goetic Xaos" is one of the creepiest recordings on the album, with its myriad of industrial rumblings proving truly despair-inducing. It feels like being trapped inside the scariest, darkest, abandoned factory possible, which is aided by the impeccable sequencing of each individual sound. This kind of music is about the little details more than anything, and "Pennhurst / Xesse" is definitely the kind of record that takes multiple listens to appreciate all of the individual nuances present. "Audi Alteram Partem" builds off of the previous track's chaotic soundscapes, adding echoing vocal effects to the mix for a notable (and terrifying) result before transitioning into "Penn Hurst", which works as a kind of indirect outro to "Goetic Xaos".

"Xesse" is one of the compilation's most disturbing tracks. A lot of the key elements noted above are combined here with sporadic vocal wails in a downright frightening way. Here, the lack of noise in some parts can be just as effective as anything, creating a kind of suspense before the intrusion of ghostly, anguished cries. "Silence Is Suffering" is much more bass heavy, with the instrument's droning sounds giving the music a very crushing, very suspenseful quality.

"The Inhuman Condition" follows "Within the Circle of Bones", which is very much like "Goetic Xaos" in overall sound. The former has this very warped kind of feel to it, with its grinding bass and incoherent vocal murmurs contributing to the overall sense of uncertainty and emptiness of the song. "Luciferian Homage", a Metal song as fantastically-named as one will ever find, closes things out by basically employing all of the most sinister, pained vocal and audio effects found throughout the album in a single track.

This is not the kind of music I listen to often, but what is immediately clear from listening to T.O.M.B.'s "Pennhurst / Xesse" compilation is the group's penchant for writing music that just exudes terror and fear in a way that is both indirect and not. Hellish, dense and chaotic, it is a release that does very well at what it sets out to do. While this kind of material is a bit more niche than most music, it is definitely worth checking out for fans of dark ambient and industrial music.

7 / 10


"Pennhurst / Xesse" Track-listing:

1. Primevil Sorcery
2. Maz Ov Tha Damd
3. Goetic Xaos
4. Audi Alteram Partem
5. Penn Hurst
6. Xesse
7. Silence Is Suffering
8. Within The Circle Of Bones
9. The Inhuman Condition
10. Luciferian Homage

T.O.M.B. Lineup:

Jack Gannon (aka No One) - All instruments, Effects

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