Toronto death metal band Tomb Mold released their debut demo ‘The Bottomless Perdition’ on cassette back in February, and it didn’t take that long for the underground to take notice. Shortly after the release they joined the Blood Harvest Records roster, who will give the demo a new cassette pressing on July 29th. With the release date fast approaching, we’re excited to have the chance to premiere a full stream of ‘The Bottomless Perdition’ for your listening pleasure.
You’re probably able to tell from the album artwork alone, but Tomb Mold is paying tribute to some of the best old-school death metal bands on this demo. In particular they skew heavily towards the Finnish side of the spectrum on this recording, and their guitar and bass work is so filthy that you might have to take a shower after you’ve finished listening. Throughout the demo they’ve been able to hit that raw, gritty instrumentation without sacrificing sound quality, avoiding some of the pitfalls that death metal groups of this type sometimes run into early on. But raw, filthy tonality won’t help material stand out if you don’t have the substance to back it up, and this is where the band excels. These songs hit hard, and know when to place a well-timed lead or solo to capture your attention and shake things up a bit. ‘The Bottomless Perdition’ sounds like it’s going to drag you into the depths of an immense crypt and spit you back out as a grimy skeleton, and that couldn’t be more appealing. I’ve also got to hand it to drummer Max Klebanoff, whose vocals are drenched in reverb and come across like a spectre that’s out to possess you.
I’ve spent a good deal of time with this demo over the last few weeks, and it might just be one of the most promising debuts that a death metal band has released in 2016. Not only that, but it’s hard to believe that Tomb Mold is only comprised of two members, as they channel a crushing sound that makes it sound like they have more people contributing. A new demo is due out later in the year with a full length also in the works, so it won’t be long before these guys have even more filthy old-school death metal coming your way. To find out more about Tomb Mold and their influences, I had the chance to send some questions over to guitarist/bassist Derrick Vella.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): As Tomb Mold is a fairly new entity, can you give us some background information? The press bio mentions both of you have played in various groups before but when did you start what would end up becoming Tomb Mold?
Tomb Mold (Derrick Vella): We had both been in a few bands together prior to forming Tomb Mold. There were numerous occasions where we threw around the idea of starting a studio-based death metal group, but decided not to pursue the idea at the time. We were both between bands in November 2015 and decided that that would be the perfect time to start something new, and Tomb Mold was formed shortly thereafter.
TO: Since I’m into video games, I have to ask if there’s any Bloodborne influence to your band name.
Tomb Mold: Ha, definitely. I (Derrick) am an avid gamer but since Demon’s Souls I’ve played the hell out of every game Hidetaka Miyazaki has made. Bloodborne is probably my favourite out of the Souls-related games, especially from an atmosphere/design perspective. All the Lovecraft worship didn’t hurt it either.
TO: You independently released ‘The Bottomless Perdition’ in February on cassette, with Blood Harvest set to do another cassette run July 29th. How did you connect with Blood Harvest? It seems like things have moved quickly given the short amount of time between the two releases.
Tomb Mold: Rodrigo from Blood Harvest reached out to us soon after we released the demo, and it kind of just went from there. We like the label, and Rodrigo handle things in such a professional manner and was extremely supportive. Things have moved fairly quickly, but we tend to work very quickly so it’s nice to have someone who understands our work ethic.
TO: The demo has that raw, filthy sound that works so well for death metal. How did you record this material, and is there anything you’re going to approach differently on your next demo or full length?
Tomb Mold: We handled the recording of the demo ourselves, but our full length will be recorded primarily with Sean Pearson at Boxcar Studios in Hamilton, Ontario. He’s very talented and super easy to work with, and can capture a really great sound. The demo’s raw production gives the recording certain charm, but with the full length being such a big step forward in terms of our writing and performance, we needed to match that with a more detailed recording.
TO: How does your writing process work? Do you tend to write parts individually and bring them together into a finished song, or do they come together through jam sessions?
Tomb Mold: The songs are usually quickly demo’d on guitar to learn every part, then once we’re in rehearsal we’ll assemble and arrange the tracks. We’ve been in bands together for almost 7 years now so the writing process has definitely become streamlined. Sonically, we both know exactly what we want each track to sound like so things are very intuitive at this point. Solos, transitions, etc. are usually written leading up to the actual recording session.
TO: Demon Ruins and the title track have some killer solos, which I think some of the newer acts playing old-school death metal ignore. What do you think is the importance of solos in the type of death metal you play?
Tomb Mold: Always love a good solo, but it’s very easy to go overboard on them. Only two of the songs have any leads. Solos that aren’t too dizzying or long winded are preferred, and we are very selective in terms of which tracks need solos to help divide parts of a track or act as transitions. A tasteful solo can be as catchy as a good riff, so you have to treat them as such.
TO: As purveyors of old-school death metal, are there any bands you’ve been influenced by that you feel people haven’t paid enough attention to?
Tomb Mold: Convulse, Demigod, Deceased (who never really stopped being a band) have always been a huge influence on what we do, but they’ve all achieved a certain cult status that’s preserved their influence on the genre. Disincarnate, Xysma, Dr. Shrinker, Phantasm, Korpse, and Rippikoulu, while most had a short life-span, had a significant influence on us and the genre and deserve way more attention. As for newer bands that have motivated us, Ossuary, Bone Sickness, Blood Incantation, Undergang and many others have released some of the most memorable and crushing material in contemporary death metal.
TO: The cassette artwork caught my eye, as it shows a tomb and has a very ancient, mysterious look. Was this a piece of art you found and repurposed for the demo or did you have someone create it?
Tomb Mold: The cover for the demo is an illustration of an Italian cathedral’s main entrance. The original illustration already had a very sinister look to it, and after a few rounds of photocopying, the hidden cryptic look of the opening perfectly fit the atmosphere of the demo. The ambiguity of the image as the cover was also a pleasant bonus.
The demo’s raw production gives the recording certain charm, but with the full length being such a big step forward in terms of our writing and performance, we needed to match that with a more detailed recording
TO: Tomb Mold is just the two of you, is there any interest in bringing on another member for live performances or are you going to keep it a studio project for now?
Tomb Mold: For the time being, we aren’t interested in performing live. The writing process is already very fulfilling and we don’t feel the need to disrupt it. We work at a brisk pace and we don’t feel like slowing down. There will eventually be a live line-up for Tomb Mold, but it’s definitely not something that we plan on rushing.
TO: What are your thoughts on the metal scene in Toronto?
Tomb Mold: Toronto’s metal scene has not had many interesting local acts for a while. Abyss is amazing. Thantifaxath and Sortilegia are great, but those are the few we enjoy.
TO: Your upcoming full length will be on Blood Harvest, is there a label handling the second demo or will you be releasing that independently? Do you have any early details you can give us about either release?
Tomb Mold: Our second will be self-released and should be out sometime this fall. The LP will be a bit of a departure from how the first demo sounded. We leaned heavily on the Finnish DM sound as a blueprint but the LP is less grounded in that particular sound. A lot of the characteristics of the songs on the demo helped lay the foundation for how we approach song-writing, but we are excited by how dynamic the LP will be.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘The Bottomless Perdition’ or Tomb Mold?
Tomb Mold: I think that covers it. Thanks so much!