This is an intriguing album, as much for its negatives as for its positives. As far as I can tell, These Are My Tombs is a fairly new band, having formed in 2012, and this is their first full-length release. This Portuguese 4 piece plays a metallic version of third wave that’s not too heavily reliant on crescendo. In a some ways they remind me of Siberia’s best kept secret; Psycho Tree. They both have a level of Tool worship going on. There’s plenty of heavier stuff out there, but the way this combines international third wave post rock and post metal definitely makes it accessible as well as fairly compelling.
Although there are plenty of good things to talk about on Morphosis, like the adept songwriting, and the catchy riffs, it felt to me that one big thing was missing from this release. Emotion. It may be because of a certain lack of volume dynamics (which could be explained away as a mixing flaw) or the fact that the songs all have a very similar tempo and arrangement. This just doesn’t hit hard enough to take me on the journey with These are my Tombs. That alone stops this album from being more appealing. It’s competent but flat.
Sonically, except for the lack of transient dynamics, Morphosis is well done. All the instruments are well defined, even within the “wall of sound” guitar work that the band sometimes employs. This “wall of sound” works especially well when cut by palm muted chunking, such as on “Omen” and the title track, “Morphosis,” or when accompanied by distant sounding background vocals. The later is especially a nice touch that takes finesse to pull off. Guitar tones are fairly good, except when the “wall of sound” drops, and the bare distortion is up front. Though slightly thick, it just sounds a little less refined then it could. The bass is done well, and it reaches some really high points when the Tool-esque slap lines are abandoned, leaving the player to create a much more effective counter point to the guitar lines. Drums are competently executed, which should not go unappreciated considering some of the rhythm switch ups here. They are mixed a little low, and sound boxy at times. There are keyboards on this album, and they are used with restraint. Slightly generic in sound, they fit in where they are, and don’t over accentuate anything to detriment.
The overall mix is a bit on the cardboard side. It isn’t enough to put someone off the album at all, but it certainly contributes to the emotional impact, or lack thereof. I never felt disappointed in Morphosis but it never got me excited either. There’s a lot of potential here, and I’d be very interested to hear what These Are My Tombs releases next. Hopefully it’s a little more developed and less middle of the road then this.