Album Review: GREYTOMB Monumental Microcosm
Australian atmospheric doomy black metal isn’t exactly a descriptor you immediately jump to when you are trying to figure out what kind of music you want to sit down and chill out with. It’s the sort of thing that demands a certain level of dorkery to even be able to get in to. That being said, the Australian atmospheric doomy black metal band in question, Greytomb are writing some wonderfully dense music that requires more than a few listens to properly pick apart. What this means is that their latest offering, Monumental Microcosm, can’t help but to fascinate the doom metal dork in all of us, speaking to the darker forgotten effigy of the spirit that we all carry within. This is a challenging listen but one that is wholly worth it, encouraging you to delve into the darker world of the genre whilst holding you up to enlightened standards for what a music fan should be willing to do to fully ‘get’ a record.
The true beauty of Monumental Microcosm is that despite its penchant for esoterica (a song title like "Antimeta" doesn’t normally beget simplistic lyrics) the record clocks in at a mere 25 minutes. This means that the whole thing feels strangely rewarding and speaks for a group of fans who really just want a chance to sit down and drop out. This is for the fans who want to sit back, smoke a joint and just take a journey. With black metal like this, especially when the songs are so long form, it’s difficult to write compelling hooks and Greytomb largely avoid even trying to do so. What they push for instead is mesmerizing riffs that you know will be rattling around your skull for a good long while, no matter how much you try to get them out, and no matter what your opinion of this kind of music. It means that while this is certainly a record that forces you to think… it’s also one that allows you to ease yourself in and discover its many intricacies at your own pace.
Greytomb’s label, the legendary Transcending Obscurity, has never exactly shied away from putting out challenging music that requires a lot of investment on your part. In fact, many of my favorite releases of theirs channel this, the need to discover fascinating new sides of what you choose to love. So, digging into Monumental Microcosm, even from the first, seems strangely natural. It’s a record that makes a lot of sense for you to get invested in because it has everything you want from a solid atmospheric black metal album, and the sheer heaviness of the doom riffs is more than enough to keep you coming back for more. It remains rooted in the earth and reminding us time and time again that no matter lost up its ass an album might seem at first, there often is a whole bunch that you can sit down and unpack. A musical journey if there ever was one, I’m curious to see how Greytomb start to evolve.