Brooklyn metal boundary pushers Tombs will follow their 35-minute "EP" Monarchy of Shadows with a second 2020 release, an hour-long full-length called Under Sullen Skies, on November 20 via Season of Mist (pre-order).

"The original strategy assumed we would be on the road for most of 2020," said frontman Mike Hill with "a lamenting laugh" (bio writer Kevin Stewart-Panko's words). "We had a sick tour with Napalm Death planned right after the EP’s release. We were going to record the new full-length before the tour and have it come out in the fall. There was all kinds of tour talk and plans and 2020 would have been a tour-de-force of Tombs activity in the United States and Europe. Obviously, none of that is happening, but we’re still going ahead with the record."

"Everyone contributes on this record and the door has always been open for others to do so," he continues. "There has always been this misconception that I’m some sort of tyrant always telling people what to do and play. The fact of the matter is that most of the time I outwork people; that’s just the way I am. No one is ever going to outwork me on any level in any area of my life and I was always coming up with material. Now, I have these maniacs in the band who are equally motivated and there’s a whole new life injected into Tombs. That’s awesome and I love it. These days we’ll try anything and we actually write stuff and throw it out because it’s not perfect. It’s more like a writing committee, which I really appreciate. It’s not just me writing everything. It’s a big difference from The Grand Annihilation which was basically a solo record."

The first single is "Barren," which Hill calls "the song that’s most collaborative" on the album. "[drummer/multi-instrumentalist] Justin [Spaeth] wrote the bulk of the riffs on that one, that sort of NWOBHM/Scorpions ending part is something I came up with, [guitarist] Matt [Medeiros] added a bunch of guitar harmonies over it and Drew [Murphy's] bass is laid thick underneath. That one is one of the biggest group efforts and one of the strongest songs on the record."

He also adds, "This record and the EP came out about as close as I could imagine to what I have in my brain about how this band should sound. The whole trajectory of the band has had each record never quite hitting, but Monarchy of Shadows and Under Sullen Skies have both really come out how I envisioned the songs to be."

Lead single "Barren" is also features a guest guitar solo by Six Feet Under's Ray Suhy, and other guests on the album include Dwid Hellion (Integrity), Sera Timms (Ides of Gemini, Black Math Horseman, Black Mare), Paul Delaney (Black Anvil, None More Black), Todd Stern (Psycroptic), Andy Thomas (Black Crown Initiate), and spoken word by Cat Cabral. Tracklist and more details on the guest appearances below.

"Barren" is a great first taste that picks up right where Monarchy of Shadows left off, with a mix of tornadic black metal and majestic post-metal. It's as pulverizing as it is breathtaking, and you can hear it below.

1. Bone Furnace (04:49)
2. Void Constellation (04:55)
3. Barren (05:31)
4. The Hunger (04:30)
5. Secrets Of The Black Sun (07:08)
6. Descensum (04:32)
7. We Move Like Phantoms (01:45)
8. Mordum (04:21)
9. Lex Talionis (04:29)
10. Angel Of Darkness (06:53)
11. Sombre Ruin (04:13)
12. Plague Years (06:59)

Cat Cabral – Spoken Word Dialog on “Angel of Darkness”
Paul Delaney (BLACK ANVIL) – additional vocals on “Angel of Darkness”
Dwid Hellion (INTEGRITY) – additional vocals on “The Hunger”
Todd Stern (PSYCROPTIC) – guitar solo on “Mordum”
Ray Suhy (SIX FEET UNDER) – guitar solo on “Barren”
Andy Thomas (BLACK CROWN INITIATE) – guitar solo on “Void Constellation”
Sera Timms (IDES OF GEMINI, BLACK MATH HORSEMAN) – additional vocals on “Secrets of the Black Sun”


Must-Hear Metal Albums of 2020 So Far

More From Brooklyn Vegan