Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Artist: T.O.M.B.
Title: UAG (Uncovered Ancient Gateways)
Format: CD
Label: Crucial Blast (@)
Rated: *****
I used to attempt to wax eloquent in reviews, a meager outlet for creative writing and musical insight. But not no more, not after this album. Being totally unprepared for T.O.M.B. (Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) and with not much frame of reference for this kind of noize, I have to say I was steamrolled by it, nearly literally, or at least my ears were. As I understand, T.O.M.B. Has its roots in Black Metal, but this doesn't sound like any Black Metal I've ever come across. Ritualized harsh noise ambient might be a more accurate assessment, pervasive throughout 'UAG'.

The rather lengthy description on the one-sheet that accompanied this monstrosity is a much better review than I ever could have written, and I am not inclined to plagiarize or paraphrase it, not because I don't agree with it (it is mostly spot-on) but because after experiencing this morbid noisefest, I just don't have the energy. Allegedly (hey, I wasn't there, who knows for sure?) these are field recordings made in abandoned sanitariums, morgues, crypts, and other creepy places , often banging on the walls of the structures and making use of their natural reverberation. Some of the distortion in the recording could be attributed to that. This is a hell-ride to be sure, with bits of industrial mechanical sounds, electronics and processing as a subtext for the brutal pounding. There a few quieter moments when 'UAG' resembles something close to Dark Ambient, but they don't last long. Actually, for a noise album this is kind of multi-faceted and creative, and I can tell a lot of energy and work went into this. There are parts that seem like they could fall into the avant-garde, and for harsh noise enthusiasts, it could actually grow on you.

At first it was unclear to me whether T.O.M.B. is a collective of participants or just one guy guy running around at night breaking into the haunts of the insane and the dead to work his demonic aural visions. Then the name Jack Gannon (aka No One) surfaced, previously with Goreaphobia, Deteriorate, Zahgurim, Hazarax, and Mourn Thy Passing (formerly Cemetery Earth), Death Metal bands near Philly, PA. So T.O.M.B. Is Gannon's project or No One's, if it's any one's at all. With those bands he mostly contributed vocals, but it would seem as though his talents have been better utilized here. Any vocal contributions to this album though will hardly be recognized from his previous work.

One particularly disturbing aspect of this album is the track 'Cadaver Transmissions' in which supposedly a contact mike was rubbed against an actual dead body. Well, there are scraping sounds, but puleeze! How far into the morbidity tables does an artist need to delve for authenticity's sake? Purists will love it though, I suppose.

'UAG' is a tough 63 minutes to digest, but noise enthusiasts should have a field day with a smorgasbord of raucous racquet, cavernous cacophony, and putrid pandemonium. Since this album has been out awhile, I've had the opportunity to read some reviews, and all were very positive, no one panned it. I'm not going to either. I wouldn't dare, even if it's not my cup of meat. Great graphics on the digipak and booklet though. Recommended only to those who fear not to tread the path where No One (else) will go.


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