Monday 26 October 2015

Tombstones - Vargariis (Album Review)

Release date: December 4th 2015. Label: Soulseller Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Vargariis– Tracklisting

1. Barren Fields 09:26
2. And When the Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise 08:43
3. Oceans of Consciousness 10:14
4. The Dark High 09:18
5. Underneath the Earth 09:05
6. Pyre of the Cloth 09:43

Tombstones Band Members:

Bjørn-Viggo Godtland – Guitar/Vocals
Ole Christian Helstad – Bass/Vocals
Markus Støle - Drums


This album is an infused masterpiece of a home brew like quality. There is a great deal going on here and there is much to enjoy over repeated listens. In fact, you can’t listen to this just once. You need to listen to this piece of work several times to really enjoy what has been accomplished for your auditory pleasure. This band is no stranger to stoner rock as evidenced from past releases, but make no mistake, this band is doom. This current release is essentially a stoner rock and doom metal meatloaf. The recipe has doom as the main ingredient mixed with some stoner crumbs. These songs are long, with all but one of them being over 9 minutes on the clock and the shorter one still being over 8 minutes long in duration.

This album is complete with strange twists and unexpected turns alongside fast ups and slow downs. It’s like a large course meal seasoned with darkness. This may be an acquired taste for the safe genre folks, but if they give it a chance, it will be a palette revelation when they finally begin to crave the bitterness over the staple foods. The overall experience is an arduous journey through a forest of ugliness ending in the completion of another chapter in your desperate life. What a trip. A true stoned and doomed classic. Now, on to the individual tracks…

Barren Field s- The beginning feedback you hear is the precursor to what is to be the soon unexpected find behind the lifting curtain. This track has it all, including sludgy doom and driving metal, alongside indelible vocal passages. You will sway like a weeping willow on this one.

And When The Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise - You need to make sure your limbs are limbered up, because the swaying continues on this track. I can describe this sound experience as a decathlon, harnessing everything that is beloved in the blueprints of darkness. There are many parts to create the spectacular whole. This workout track is an endorphin rush complete with embossed veins the size of garden hoses. A real workhorse.

Oceans Of Consciousness- The start of this song tenderizes you for the rest of the tumultuous tempest of this sonic exposure. You are not a participant in the chaos, but more of an observer of the destruction. The band controls this offering with precision, carefully regulating between time lapse and slow motion, all swirling in the ether. The dual vocal passages of screaming and hoarseness, as well as, vintage soloing are a welcome mat for your ears, graciously accepted at the end of this experiment in sound. An album favorite.

The Dark High - This track is a slow churner that succeeds in thickening the sinew around the bone. A constant barrage of stoned, galloping riffage and gravel like vocals. The last part of this song is black gold.

Underneath The Earth -This song resonates with harsh punishment through the chugging and rumbling instruments and satisfaction through desire type vocal passages. The entire track is festering with the murkiness of the subterranean world and the force of the beings that prosper under the village. The end turn is quite a ride.

Pyre Of The Cloth - This track is constructed of plodding distorted doom and heavy rock creating the backdrop for additional great singing passages and some sparse screams. I dare say that there is some catchiness here and some gratifying solo work. This is a perfectly strong closer to an utterly phenomenal album.

This album is dark, but not entirely bleak in its charred composition. There is a certain faint light that shines through the dismal fog, providing warmth that feels at home within your bones.

This band is made up of dirty hippies that own the dark. This musical fungi grows only where Tombstones mark the land. I will not wash my mushrooms before I eat them because I want all the nutrients, but more importantly, because I like the taste of this world. This is an extraordinary endeavour, in span and rendition.

Words by Nick Palmisano

Thanks to Jan at Sure Shot Worx for the promo. Vargariis will be available to buy from Soulseller Records on CD/DD from December 4th 2015. The Double Gatefold Vinyl will be available to buy from January 2016.