Descent To Madness EP

While it certainly never went away, the modern rise to prominence of the old-school Stockholm Death Metal sound is a welcome return for the world of extreme music. For me, those familiar buzzsaw tones and pummeling grooves are like being wrapped in a flannel blanket in front of an open fire, with a cup of perfectly steamy hot cocoa on a cold February day. Mmmmmmmmm, cozy.

But at the risk of pissing off the most ardent of purists, to me, things get REALLY interesting and exciting when bands start taking those classic sounds of past eras, and start bringing new elements into the fold. The new school of the Stockholm sound with bands like Entrails and Revel in Flesh led to the NEWER school Gatecreepers of the world, which have led to a new world where those Stockholm influences can be found all over the fuckin’ place; from hardcore wunderkinds Knocked Loose to the more traditional, but stil ‘core-leaning Fuming Mouth to whatever-the-hell-you-wanna-call-them Code Orange. They’ve all got at least traces of Stockholm hidden somewhere in the mix, and they’re all better off for it.

One of the very latest from that vein, is Staten Island’s Tombstoner; with a KILLER little EP that takes that deadly Scandanavian swagger, and throws in a dose of good ol’ New York hardcore gruff and attitude to the mix that hits a really sweet spot for me.

From the jump, Tombstoner have no problem wearing their heroes proudly on their sleeves; the self-titled opening track and follow-up “Fifth Hole” bring together the best of Hypocrisy and Entombed’s playbooks (vocalist and guitarist Jesse Quinones, handling the more death metal growls and screams, could pull off a pretty convincing Peter Tagtgren, especially in his screams). Bassist and Vocalist Thomas Megill balances out Quinones’ growls with a more hardcore-based bark that packs a more immediate punch and gives the whole package a little bit of that crossover appeal that helps separate these guys from the new-school death metal pack – almost like if All Out War were less Slayer, and more Asphyx.

The third track, “M.Y.F.B.” (an acronym for “Mind Your Fucking Business”) is when that New York Hardcore grunt really comes out in full force. After a bruising, chugging open, Megill takes the vocal forefront and delivers a Billy Graziadei-like performance on an anthemic track that pulls equal influence from Kataklysm as it does with the likes of Biohazard, Pro-Pain and Merauder, complete with a bouncy, catchy sing-along chorus that will have crowds rushing the stage.

“Guts” and closer “Decent to Madness” both move the needle back into a more traditional death metal side of the spectrum, while still boasting an anthemic, fist-pumping swagger that makes Tombstoner such a catchy and memorable listen. The last two minutes of “Guts” boast some of the most fun moments on the whole E.P. and could get anyone into a headbanging frenzy with another fun, crowd-pleasing chorus and a Lamb of God-like chugging, neck-snapping bridge before both vocalists scream “SHOW! ME! YOUR! GUTS!” and break into a sweet little solo.

With my carnal Stockholm Death and Classic New York Hardcore desires simultaneously met in one sweet little package, Tombstoner have broken onto the scene and into my heart with what I hope is just a taste of even more to come, because this E.P. was a real blast for me – nostalgic and refreshing in equal parts. A great start for this young band.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
May 7th, 2020


  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    I couldn’t agree more. Such a surprising ep and I love the cover too.
    Well done review.

  2. Commented by: Steve K

    That cover art is a thing of beauty. I really really like what these guys got goin on.

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