Melbourne atmospheric Black Metal band Greytomb have delved into the realm of kvlt for their new offering, the three-track EP Monumental Microcosm. Immediately apparent on this release is the old-school production value. While far from the depths of “garage” Black Metal, it doesn’t have the crisp polish of more symphonic Black Metal bands like Aquilus, either.
The entry of vocalist Nick Magur on the opening track ‘Null’ is deep and distorted. The vibe is classic atmospheric Black Metal in that it is led by slow guitars despite the fury of the drums. Fans of Greytomb and Magur’s other act, Adamus Exul, may note that his studio vocals are far deeper and more ominous than what is generally heard of him live. The tortured scream will be more familiar for followers of Magur, and the track picks up the pace to frenetic double-kick infused Black Metal. Magur’s tortured cries are gut-wrenching as he lays bare a sense of pure suffering. The shift back to deep, chanting vocals is swift as Magur assumes a more powerful role, as though he moves between predator and prey. The energy really lifts deeper into the track, with the fast pace being brought under disciplined control. Finally the track slows down to become more poignant, with Magur’s vocals strained but almost clean before interweaving with deep growls.
The high-energy ‘Antimeta’ is the strongest of the three tracks, and certainly the most beautiful showcase of J. Angus’ dense guitars. In fact, the guitars are surprisingly melodic through that wall of sound, with a good headbanging groove alongside Forge’s drums. Magur’s vocals remain both powerful and tortured, and the track changes pace to move into a mournful space, where Greytomb take the time to feel the despair and disquiet. After this exploration of woe, the track kicks back into being fast and melodic for a stirring close.
‘Force Majeure’ sits somewhere between the crushing harshness of ‘Null’ and the melodic approach of ‘Antimeta.’ This time Greytomb touch on the more droning side of Black Metal, with the constant speed of the drums working alongside the dire guitars. ‘Force Majeure’ is not exactly minimalist, but is certainly more restrained than ‘Null’ – or perhaps constrained would be a more appropriate term, with ‘Force Majeure’’s sense of claustrophobic distress. Magur’s chanting vocals fleetingly return with almost a sense of the monastic about them, before the track culminates in exultant energy.
Monumental Microcosm is ultimately a brief, but powerful exploration of darkness and pain. Magur offers us a tortured insight into his psyche with this EP, and with both Greytomb and Adamus Exul to work with, hopefully it won’t be long before further music is forthcoming.