Review: “Age Of Darkness” by Tombstalker

On the eve of their 15th anniversary, a new age of darkness dawns for Tombstalker, their corpse reanimated by lethal injection following an extended hiatus that began in 2017. Originally formed in 2008 when the group were in their teens, they churned out a collection of demos, splits and and EP before 2015 saw debut album “Black Crusades” rear its ugly head. Lyrically musing on themes of War, Chaos, Violence and Inner struggle the band sonically created a witches brew of Scandinavian influenced Blackened Death Meta with elements of Thrash and d-beat crust punk. All of that made the band unique at the time, with a sound that was some what ahead of the curve. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jason Groves (Crop, Rotting Kingdom, Swamp Hawk) at Sneak Attack Studios in Lexington Kentucky, this new affair finds the band with a new drummer and a lead guitarist for the first time…

It’s abundantly clear from the very start of “Astral Combat” that Tombstalker have lost absolutely none of the fire and fury that helped them create their previous darkened hymns of chaos and bloodshed. The hiatus as left them blood thirsty once more and it shows with the passion that has been poured into the musicianship of this one. From the pummelling Black Metal inspired percussive battery to the pounding bass and throat splitting vocals, it’s nothing short of devastating. The surprise is however the breadth of the riffage which flies seamlessly from Black to Death to Thrash and then meanders in Traditional Heavy Metal all in one single track. Variety is the spice of life and this fuels that in slick style. The four horsemen of the apocalypse ride into town at a gallop with “Titan Warlord“, a powerhouse of a cut that reminds of older works by bands like Krisiun or “Morbid Visions” era Sepultura with a sinister edge and bowel clenching gutteral lows to keep you firmly on the edge of your seat. Face melting solos errupt in the final moments as the two guitarists go to war to destructive effect.

After two beasts comes the moment of clarity as “Age of Darkness” finds the band in meloncholic meandering mood with an acoustic instrumental cut against the sound of clear calm waters. Timeless and classical in its roots, the solo threatens to derail the train, at points sounding slightly out of tune, however the dull ache of the cut is never lost. Picking up the pace and energy once more “Final Night” throws fuel on the fire to create a raging Inferno. A second wave of Black Metal inspired cut with plenty of style and grace it sands above the reset thanks to a couple of flamboyant solos that shine through the darkness. All in all a triumphant return from an underrated band who confirm they still have what it takes to dance with the devil and live to tell the spitting, snarling, snorting tale… [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. Astral Combat
  2. Titan Warlord
  3. Age of Darkness
  4. Final Night

Age Of Darkness” by Tombstalker is out 29th May 2023 via Boris Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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