Resin Tomb is yet another extreme metal outfit to come out of the Australian underground that aims to turn its listeners into powder. As the nation that gave us Portal and The Amenta, it should come as no surprise that Australia takes a lead in the development of dissonant death metal along with Ulcerate in New Zealand. Three of the five members of Resin Tomb also play in death-grind band, Consumed, while guitarist, Brendan Auld, is a familiar name at Scream Blast Repeat as the main noise terrorist in Snorlax (his solo project) and Descent. After two EPs, the debut Resin Tomb album knows its purpose – to mix the most diabolical sludge metal with death metal. You’ll need a strong stomach.
Resin Tomb have no time to waste. The twenty-eight minutes of this record are merciful for not being a second longer. Get ready for full velocity blasting from the first note of opener, ‘Dysphoria’, with guitars that electrocute any objects that come near their strings, including plectrums. Vocalist, Matthew Budge, sounds like he has a bomb strapped to his chest with a determination to escape it and save his life. Listen to the hiss of the guitar chords sear against flesh like acid. A wonderful slow down to half-timing drums at 01:48 accentuates the hostility.
‘Flesh Brick’ is what Neurosis would sound like if you asked them to write a dissonant death metal album. Those of a masochistic persuasion will lap this up like pests to corn. How do they make their guitars ache with such delight? Here, they resemble hydraulic drills cracking through a rock edifice. Occasionally, you can hear tremolo patterns among this noise. The aim in ‘Scalded’ is to produce something so ugly that it overwhelms you by its sheer nastiness. Vocals roar from the base of the neck as if constricted by a nerve agent. The bass guitar thunders like a Boeing 747 engine under severe strain. Listen to the sludge metal dirge at 02:20 when they gear down into new depths of trauma – is there a perverse pleasure in these agonising vocals? Is this more of a therapy session than a musical expedition?
Clearly, Resin Tomb are experts at writing guitar passages that spit at you like pit bulls about to be euthanised. But is there value in art that aims to recreate the chaos and fear of living through the extreme turbulence of a passenger jet descending into the ocean? The answer is more obvious than you think. You need to be in the mood. The band stay within their catacombs for the title-track to explore a mid-tempo range of suffering. Broken chords and double-kick sixteenth notes fight with desperate screams in ‘Human Confetti’ to stop the imaginary cruise ship from sinking with all on board. Guitar arpeggios grind in a high-register nuisance like engine failures. The vocalist can do nothing but bleed his lungs and shred his larynx over the top of this noise pollution.
This music is fascinating if you sit down and give it the attention it deserves. But that does not mean your enjoyment levels will match your intrigue. Ulcerate receive their dues on this record via a black metal bid for transcendental annihilation of the self. You can trace the branches from Killing Joke to Voivod to Gorguts when analysing the guitar approach to Cerebral Purgatory. Think of it as post-metal and sludge put through the meat grinder for the death metal fraternity. It’s a wonder they didn’t break their equipment when recording this music. Resin Tomb’s mantra is simple – pure fucking chaos where events that happen in lightning-quick speed feel like slow motion. ‘Concrete Crypt’ is the moment when you realise that you’re alone and abandoned to the wilderness after waking up in a daze among the wreckage of a plane crash.
There’s a danger that the band enjoy this music more than their listener in a selfish way that makes no consideration for the health and wellbeing of the latter. You can imagine the band members at the wrong end of a water cannon as they try to stay on their feet in rigid defiance of authority. In a strange way, the screaming vocals of ‘Putrescence’ make this music more accessible than the favoured guttural monotony that often takes precedence in death metal music.
Music can recreate trauma and articulate emotions that cannot be explained in words. Resin Tomb can offer you an experience that will unleash your dormant emotions, but it might not be pretty.
Release Date: 19/01/2024
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Standout tracks: Flesh Brick, Scalded, Purge Fluid
Suggested Further Listening: Vacuous – Dreams of Dysphoria (2022), Snorlax – The Necrotrophic Abyss (2023), Great Falls – Objects Without Pain (2023)