To the Existence of Light

My first introduction to Symphonic Black Metal was Cradle of Filth’s Total Fucking Darkness, sent to me by a friend in England who happened to be Dani Filth’s roommate at the time. Small fucking world, right? Anyhoo, when the intro for “The Black Goddess Rises” started I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, mind you, this was around the time I was discovering Black Metal; the keyboards that weren’t used in the Thrash and Death Metal I was already a fan of; I came to thoroughly enjoy how that extra sound layer enhanced the other instruments.

On the wings of that I purchased the Blackened compilations where I heard so many different styles that I felt my soul becoming blacker with every listen. The biggest names in Black Metal were right there before me and I ate it all up.

I was in my 20s then, and now, sitting here on the edge of 50, I have this Indonesian band called Tombstone and their ode to all things Atmospheric Black Metal To the Existence of Light. Consisting of Nirrojim and Thorner, Tombstone has created a formidable Sophomore album of seven soul-crushing tracks.

“Wolfsbane” starts with a distorted riff lightly before the first scream and tremolo when the song bursts to life, the vocals echo like a call through a misty forest as the speed rises and falls. It’s this track that got me thinking about bands like Dark Woods My Betrothed, Diabolical Masquerade and particularly early Marduk; especially on the second track “Disillusionize” where the mayhem is abruptly halted at the 4.48 point for respite for a minute or so before the guitars morph into distorted serpents and the vocals rise, the drums propelling the song to its end.

Tombstone is at its best when they allow the songs to breathe, and I’m certainly not complaining about the faster ones on To the Existence of Light, but its tracks like “Into the Woods” and “Guardians of Land and Sea” with triumphant riffing and mournful screams piercing the frozen darkness. To the Existence of Light is a mighty fine album, I’ll tell you what. It’s the title track that ultimately steals the show, beautifully layered clean guitars erupt at the 1.00 mark and a blackened riff propels the track through its 10.03 journey, in no hurry to end while being disciplined throughout to not let the mood escape into madness.

One thing I’ll say about Tombstone, is I wish I’d heard them sooner. It is what it is, I have now, and I feel the need to check out their first, The Awakening of Darkness. So, for all you fans of Dark Woods my Betrothed, early Marduk (think the Dracul albums era), Ancient, and Cradle of Filth; at the end of the day Tombstone stand on its own merit. This is a huge album and I recommend it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
April 4th, 2023


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