Tales of the Tomb
Volume Two: Mendacium EP

Hailing from Edmonton, Canada, one might assume that Tales of the Tomb are yet another impressive act of technicality and time signature wielding wizardry, especially given that Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy) handles the mixing and mastering of the band’s latest sophomore EP release, Volume Two: Mendacium.

Yes, one might assume this solely based on our experience with what seems to be the majority of our northern metal brethren, though one would be massively wrong. Instead Tales of the Tomb offers up six tracks of appealing and memorable death metal that packs a nice punch while doling out the brutality that summons the spirit of Gorerotted and mixes it with a heavy dose of Blood Red Throne and Goremageddon: The Saw and the Carnage Done era Aborted. It’s good stuff for sure, though a bit surprising considering that their first/debut EP release, Volume One: Morpras, was a much different tale, coming off as more of a mixture of mostly The Black Dahlia Murder with a bit of Jens Ryden fronted Naglfar (mainly the vocals) and even a smidge of In Flames here and there.

From start to finish, Volume Two: Mendacium tears it up pretty damn well, and just as Volume One: Morpras‘ lyrical matter dealt with murder and serial killers in a Macabre influenced manner, Volume Two: Mendacium (V2:M) similarily follows suit. This time around TotT focuses on a lyrical content and concept of conspiracies, falsities, and fiction, as mendacium translates to lie, false, and untruth. From aliens, “The Nightmare Hall”, to David Koresh and Branch Davidians, “The Sinful Messiah”, to mysterious Russian deaths, “Dyatlov Pass Incident”, and even the Faul/Paul McCartney death and replacement theory, “Faul”, V2:M is chock full of fantastical ideas and stories. Hell, they even take on the subject of the bizarre manga/horror, The Mermaid in a Manhole, with the track of the same name.

While definitely not breaking any new ground with their material, TotT manages to provide quite a fun, entertaining, and satisfying listen, as well as a damn catchy and bludgeoning one, with their more traditional and somewhat old school structured metal of death. With that aforementioned Christian Donaldson mixing and mastering, you can rest assured in knowing that V2:M sounds powerful. In fact, one of the EP’s strong suits is in the literal sound presentation of the material. All the tracks have a great mix, with every instrument being well represented and every tone sounding clean and hearty. For sure, V2:M‘s material is what’s important here, but one can’t deny the allure of the chunk and pummel achieved, in some part, from the EP’s mix and master. Hats off to the group for understanding the importance of engineering, as even their previous/debut release had the legendary Dan Swano and Unisound involved in the process.

Overall V2:M is an all out success in my book. Personally, I think the material could have benefitted from having a bit of that Trevor Strand meets Jens Ryden vocal performance, that made up the majority of their prior EP release, intermixed into the mostly gutturals of V2:M. A good vocal tandem is hard to beat in death metal, and V2:M has a fair amount of places where it would have worked brilliantly.

Alas, that’s an admitted lame ass complaint, as Volume Two: Mendacium is a damn fine and enjoyable EP that not only has me looking forward to a full on full-length from Tales of the Tomb, but also wondering why a label hasn’t claimed these guys yet, and which one will ultimately, be the one to make the wise choice in doing so.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
January 6th, 2020

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