Hailing from Brazil but based in the US, Death Metal duo Negative Vortex unleash their debut studio full-length album, the fifty-four-minute, nine-track double LP, Tomb Absolute. This promises to “evoke bleak and pessimistic visions of a doomed future to come, stirring with a bitter reflection about mental illnesses, society’s role in human failure, dysfunctions of the mind and spiritual hopelessness.”
Given that statement, it will be no surprise that the glory and timelessness of ’80s and ’90s Death and Doom Metal of the likes of Cathedral, Nihilist, Autopsy, and Celtic Frost inspires it.
Negative Vortex – Tomb Absolute (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)
Release Date: 20 January 2023
Words: Jools Green
Tomb Absolute has been over eight years in the making. They released a limited-edition cassette/ digital demo back in 2015 containing versions of four of the nine tracks found on this release, Tomb Absolute, Chant For The Undertaker, Cicuta and The Burning Orb, when they were a four-piece. But this album sees new life and a fresh approach instilled into those pieces.
The time, energy and effort put into this release is immediately apparent. The whole album has been meticulously composed and delivered. The tracks ebb and build in hugely atmospheric, powerful and bleak waves. At its most intense, it’s searingly brutal, ebbing back to bleak doom-scapes, oozing with pain and suffering, superbly contrasting throughout, incorporating synth-laden ambient dirges which add subtle texture along with spoken word passages.
The track Chant For The Undertaker has symphonic/choral bursts that add an extra air of bleakness to the sound without diminishing the brutality. Throughout, it’s grim and filled with bleak hopelessness, but at the same time, it’s colossal, imposing and just plain superb.
There’s a sinister scene setting short intro, The Vortex, which builds in volume in unnerving pulses, merging into the first track proper, Tomb Absolute. From here on, all the tracks are lengthy beasts, all coming in between five and nine-and-a-half-minute duration, allowing for each one to develop and wend its brutal, engagingly convoluted and enthralling path.
The album also boasts a myriad of guest artists. That driving beast of a first track, Tomb Absolute, which opens on a searing vocal roar, has guitar solos from both Moyses Kolesne and Leon del Muerte. On Cicuta, Kam Lee brings additional vocals into the mix, complementing and fortifying M. Feschner’s already brutal rasping vocal delivery with an utterly insane guitar solo from Leon del Muerte.
The Burning Orb features an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, read by Mike J. Fort. Enthroned Suffering features Victor Whipstriker backing vocals, with Caleb Bingham delivering a searing guitar solo and with the voiceover (of the preacher) by the band’s drummer, bassist, guitarist and keyboard player Libra. Weeping Moon boasts another searing Caleb Bingham guitar solo and … Of Broken Dreams sees the return of Moyses Kolesne for another impressive guitar solo along with an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, A Dream, again read by Libra.
The final piece, the eerie nine-minute monster, Cease To Exist, features narration by Nick Holmes and an excerpt from the mentally disturbed and broken Czechoslovak rampage killer, Olga Hepnarová’s original letter, who on 10 July 1973 killed eight people with a truck in Prague, read by the now retired Spanish actress, singer and dancer Carmen Sovaila.
Tomb Absolute is bleak, dark and superbly engaging and should appeal to fans of bands like Demigod, Grave, Divine Eve, Entombed, Nihilist, Autopsy Cathedral, Celtic Frost and Triptykon and will be available as a double LP, CD, cassette and in digital format.