The Enduring Spirit
November 25, 2023
“The Enduring Spirit” is the fourth full-length album from the Canadian death metal band, TOMB MOLD. This album was released on September 15th, 2023 on the 20 Buck Spin record label. This is a polarizing album with the band exploring the use of melody and progressive concepts. It’s nearly always true that when a band releases an album with a new approach behind it, feathers are going to be ruffled. The diehard fans are going to cry blasphemy because it doesn’t sound like their previous work and the album will also win over some newcomers who never took them seriously before.
The album opener, “The Perfect Memory (Phantasm of Aura),” has plenty of great riffs, fast technical drumming, and low growled vocals. They also inject a melodic section that shows that they have matured as a band. I like it when bands add new elements to their sound. It’s a sign of progression. If every TOMB MOLD album sounded like “Primordial Malignity,” the fans would get bored with the lack of variety. Granted, I don’t think that this album is the best death metal release of the last ten years, but it is certainly one of the best that I’ve heard this year. “Will Of Whispers” has some well-placed backing vocals and longer melodic stretches. I think the clean instrumentation with growled vocals was a well-thought-out songwriting decision. We still get the steamrolling death metal passages that TOMB MOLD is known for. There are just more facets to appreciate.
Anyone who thinks they have gotten soft will need to hear “Servants Of Possibility.” This track is a jackhammer to the face. The vamps are perfectly placed and expertly written. The same goes for the pacing. I love the riffs, drum fills, and overall dynamism of this track. They also explore some progressive ideas that don’t serve as a counterpoint to their overall extremity. There is no trade-off on this track. It goes hard, and it’s a lot of fun. The album’s finale, “The Enduring Spirit Of Calamity,” is an eleven-and-a-half-minute affair that has just a hair too much melody. There is a clean harmonious part in the middle that goes on for too long. Just as I was starting to get bored with that aspect they brought the death metal back. This track has some inspired riffs and double bass drumming as well. It’s an excellent way to cap off a stellar album.
TOMB MOLD has been touted as the savior of death metal. I wouldn’t go that far. This year has been awesome for death metal releases and “The Enduring Spirit” may make its way onto my end-of-year “best of” list. Sure, it doesn’t sound exactly like their previous albums and that is going to anger some people. You can’t please all of them all of the time, but I am impressed with their inventive songwriting ideas. I also believe that this album will win them way more fans than they lose. This is also a perfect place in their discography to give them a chance if you are new to death metal or TOMB MOLD.
9 / 10
"The Enduring Spirit" Track-listing:
1. The Perfect Memory (Phantasm of Aura)
2. Angelic Fabrications
3. Will of Whispers
4. Fate’s Tangled Thread
5. Flesh as Armour
6. Servants of Possibility
7. The Enduring Spirit of Calamity
Tomb Mold Lineup:
Derrick Vella - Bass, Guitars
Max Klebanoff - Drums, Vocals
Payson Power - Guitars