Modern movies and television are basically just comprised of reboots and remakes. It’s a mixed bag really. You get garbage like Roseanne or Fuller House, but you also get solid stuff like Twin Peaks and the (hopefully glorious) return of Suspiria. In fact, America has such a hard-on for any kind of reboot that even Nazis are making a comeback, but hopefully we’re getting a Bear Jew reboot soon to fix that disgusting problem.
Ultimately, a good reboot/remake occurs when it strikes the tender balance between nods to the past and a modern touch to help it become its own thing. Too much old stuff and the recreation is pointless. Too many new things and you lose the connection to the original.
Tomb Mold is a perfect death metal reboot that combines several of the genre’s origins with their own modern sound and ideas to create something that is simultaneously classic and fresh. Manor of Infinite Forms is the continued evolution of that effort and easily their best in a so far short career.
A big concern with contemporary movies is that most directors don’t know when to leave things on the cutting room floor, so everything is two and a half hours long. Last year’s Primordial Malignity was nine minutes shorter than this year’s release while still having one more song and sporting a fairly raw production that had many death metal fans clamoring.
Manor of Infinite Forms, while sporting both longer songs and an overall longer runtime, does not suffer as a result. Every minute pummels and hooks the listener with a beefed up production that is at once claustrophobic yet somehow more open to let the riffs and drums really sink into the ears.
So, what about those old school influences they’re bringing into this remake? The overall sound of the album will perk up the ears of Incantation fans while songs like “Gored Embrace (Confronting Biodegradation)” strongly draw from that bands faster materials. Even vocalist Max Klebanoff has a real McEntee vibe. Klebanoff also mixes in some excellent Chris Reifert barf vocals on key impact moments of the songs and the comparison doesn’t end there considering he is also the drummer for the band.
The riffs recall Mental Funeral era Autopsy and work the tritone harder than Black Sabbath – granted Black Sabbath would have to be drowning in sewage to sound this horrid. That precedent is set immediately with the first riff of the opening title track. You even get a Skinless vibe during certain breaks in songs like the 2:45 mark of “Final Struggle of Selves” or the opening stomp of “Chamber of Sacred Ootheca.”
There are modern touches too, like the acoustic guitar intro to album closer “Two Worlds Become One” whose layered sound only further punctuates the song’s true heaviness like Behemoth’s “Sculpting the Throne of Seth“. There is also a wild tremolo bridge that leads into pure chaos in “Blood Mirror” that Pat Tougas would welcome into any of his bands. The lead work of Payson Powers and Derrick Vella run the gamut of death metal’s history all while constantly creating a balancing act between melody and barely contained chaos to make the album feel like the future of the genre.
This album feels like Tomb Mold’s Symphonies of Sickness. It’s Similar in length, it takes a pretty raw approach to the genre and hits hard while retaining hints of melody and technicality without turning into full-on melo or tech death.
So, does death metal need a reboot? Hell no, but Spider-Man didn’t need three reboots in ten years either and yet somehow still continues to be successful. This album is the missing link between death metal’s past and its future. We should all be thrilled Tomb Mold is here to be the comfort of being home and somehow the thrills of a trip to a new land at the same time.
Manor of Infinite Forms is available from 20 Buck Spin (who are absolutely killing it in death metal right now) and you can catch them on tour now with Of Feather and Bone (who also happen to have put out a damn fine slab of death metal this year as well).