Caught On Bio-Film: Tomb Mold‘s Sporesome Sophomore

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Microbiology has never been so much fun! Or fun at all, really…

Apologies everyone but apparently I’m not qualified to review this album. You see, earlier this month, resident TovH horror-aficionado Leif Bearikson asked me if Manor Of Infinite Forms was any good. And from there it became known that even though I’d covered the band a few times already for the site, I was totally unaware of their penchant for Bloodborne references. Leif informed me in disgust that I was legally required to forfeit my coveted copy of the band’s 2017 debut Primordial Malignity.

So just because I haven’t wasted countless hours sequestered away from society like a poxy pubescent pariah, devoting every waking hour to learning niche skills and techniques which are ostensibly useless in the outside world, slowly becoming subsumed by an environment of solitude, darkness, and encrusted with an array of filthy bacterial pathogens, all to achieve some award which will not be recognised by literally any future employer, I’m not qualified? Wait, that’s exactly what I did. Instead of achieving this through gaming though, I completed an Environmental Science degree with several units of Microbiology. Damn. Guess I could have saved a bunch of money and had some fun online with friends instead of feigning interest in a lab full of nerds, where the only viable information I retained was how to grow mushrooms at home.

Now instead of being able to regale you with tales of blading binary beasts, all I can offer are complaints about insurmountable student debt and mediocre mycology references. That, and a passable knowledge of quality death metal. So take all you know about aseptic technique, and ignore it completely, it’s time to get down, dirty, and dead-as-fuck with Tomb Mold‘s sophomore album, Manor Of Infinite Forms.

Now, from the day I got my filthy hands on this album there was an urge to rush out a review simply declaring IT RULES”. However, as this was one of my most eagerly anticipated records of the year I tried to resist and see how it holds up to repeated listens, ensuring a more measured and unbiased review. With that in mind, I can safely say IT RULES. Manor Of Infinite Forms‘ twisted hyphae have gradually weaved their way across every stupid sector in my brain, haustorial hooks penetrating each cell and metabolising whatever mushy shit I’ve got left up there. As much as I enjoyed Primordial Malignity, Tomb Mold have spawned an album that exhibits all the previous elements of their sound, but made them more memorable, and above all more enjoyable. Manor Of Infinite Forms is one of the most fun albums of this style I’ve heard in a fucking long time, maybe ever.

Compared to Primordial Malignity, the album feels like it skews slightly towards the conventional side of their sound, rather than the erratic. There may not be anything as overtly simple and crushing as ‘Bereavement Of Flesh’, nor as frenetic as ‘Clockwork Metamorphosis’, and ordinarily most would assume this to have negative implications for the record, however, quite the opposite is true. The overall improvement in songwriting means that every track on Manor Of Infinite Forms feels of a higher quality; it’s harder for single tracks to stand-out when the average is raised right across the board. That’s not to say the album doesn’t have its moments. The rollicking rhythmic rumblings of ‘Gored Embrace (Confronting Biodegradation)’, the slimy single-note secretions of ‘Chamber Of Sacred Ootheca’, and perhaps most interestingly the seductive clean intro to 8-minute album closer ‘Two Worlds Become One’, are all parts that suck you in from first listen, but the entanglement doesn’t end there. Given time, each track will spread its spores and have no trouble inoculating your insides as they would to a fresh plate of blood agar.

The production on Manor Of Infinite Forms is noticeably more refined compared to the band’s previous efforts, and as much as I said (at the time) that the hissing lo-fi murk of their demo recordings was fitting for their theme/aesthetic, the improved sound quality here really helps showcase the skilful song-crafting. This shift towards a more vibrant soundscape has not been restricted to the music either, with the band ditching the monochromatics of previous releases and opting for a full-on explosion of colour on the album cover. Manor Of Infinite Forms shows a band not content with being confined to the constraints of asexual budding in perpetuity, but rather a group reaching maturity and moving into the fruiting stage of their life-cycle, producing a sexy-ass sporocarp for us to get all fucked-up from. It seems with each successive generation we’re bridging the gap between the current crop of North American weird-death bands (Nucleus, Chthe’ilist, et al.), and the classic Finnish death metal of yore (Adramelech, Demilich, Demigod), and as long as bands such as Tomb Mold are willing to keep experimenting with crossing strains, the potency is only going to increase with time.

Manor Of Infinite Forms tested @ 4.22 x 105.7 cfu/mL

Pre-order Tomb Mold’s Manor Of Infinite Forms from 20 Buck Spin directly or through their Bandcamp page ready for its June 8th release date.

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