Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Release Date: 27/09/2019
One of the things that you notice very quickly when you get into metal is that death is a very common subject matter across the board. This is doubly so in the case of death metal, which has the word (and the phenomenon) built right in. Death bands love dabbling in things to do with graves, burial, dead bodies and so on.
Case-in-point: choosing Mother’s Tomb as your band name.
Mother’s Tomb play death metal with tech death leanings. You have your crushing (somewhat groovy) death riffs, menacing bass and pummeling drums set under growling, throaty vocals – i.e. your standard death arsenal delivered with gusto… but, things aren’t so simple, as Absent Not Dead progresses, the band starts showing a more technical side, with each song dabbling more into techdeath pastures more than the last, which, if nothing else, shows some impressive (and impressively nuanced) musicianship.
To be a bit more specific: the opener, Mutual Hostility, is a blazing inferno of death riffs, double bass, neat little palm-muted shrieks and overall balls-to-the-wall goodness. The fun continues with Slaughtering Innocence which does away with the hard and fast but ultimately light speed of Mutual Hostility for somewhat slower but definitely heavier pastures. This culminates in the titular track, Absent Not Dead, which features more pronounced, popping, mean ass bass and some neat little pinches scattered throughout the relentless and riffing that’s not so technical to compete with the likes of, say, First Fragment or anything, but definitely holds its own.
However, there are two things that bother me. Firstly, Absent Not Dead is an EP and while I understand the need for a more gentle segway into the first track, but having a 37-second acoustic “intro” track separately from the other three makes no fucking sense. Second is the rather claustrophobic production. Not because it’s brickwalled (quite the opposite) but because you can almost hear the length and width of the breadbox studio space this thing was probably recorded in. Absent Not Dead sounds oddly muffled, resulting in a somewhat hollow sound (in that tight a space, too!) This is not entirely bad. The fresh production is different than anything else and does do a good job of dedicating space to the instruments, especially the bass (thank fuck.) But the vocals sit somewhat uncomfortably somewhere in the forefront and the drums are lacking in mids.
But these are highly deal-breaking gripes, as just a fledgling band with only this much promise in just a demo is well worthy of attention. Absent Not Dead is a very good start and hopefully the start of something beautiful. Watch these guys, they are gonna do great things. Recommended.
Donny Hamilton – vocals
Jason Schwartzwalder – guitars
Vincent Dibona – guitars
Brad Jones – bass
Jon McDonald – drums
01. Eternal Sleep (Intro)
02. Mutual Hostility
03. Slaughtering Innocence
04. Absent Not Dead