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River - Album Review: Silence Of The Tomb

27 May 2018 // A review by butch181

Comprised of only five tracks, and a run-time of just shy of 20 minutes, I would be more inclined to categorise Silence Of The Tomb as an EP rather than a fully-fledged album (generally an album should have 10+ tracks and/or have a run-time of over 40 minutes). This classification is, however, a trivial matter that has no bearing on the content of the album beyond the approximation of length. 

Silence Of The Tomb is River's fifth release and comes after an extended hiatus (the fourth album, Shadows, was released 8 years ago). River's style in Silence Of The Tomb falls into the gothic metal genre, flirting with the doom and black metal techniques.

With a simple succession of distorted notes on the guitar over some gradually increasing haze, the opening track We’re Still Falling has an almost operatic vocal style; full of reverb, giving the vibe of performing in a concert hall, or large cathedral. The mix feels a little bit off, with the drums disappearing during many parts of the track, barely noticeable during the verse, as the cymbals merge into a single sound rather than several distinct events.

The central tracks of the album Shades of the Sheol, Mountains Roar, and I Am Your Thrall, have a much heavier tone to them, with high-paced distorted, repeating guitar riffs, and deep, grunting vocals (the lyrics are near enough impossible to decipher as the vocals are quite noticeably modified with reverb and echo effects). More heavily influenced by the doom and black metal style. The guttural, meaty vocals are reminiscent of Max Cavalera's work with Sepultura (specifically the Roots era).

The vocal harmonies in opening moments of Mountains Roar is one of the more peculiar aspects of the release, with echoing and reverberating deep vocals contrasting vastly with delayed falsetto choir-style vocals. In fact, I would love to hear the vocals dialled back throughout the release, as the guitars and drums are hugely overpowered by the presence of the vocals, and there are some really good riffs and trills going on.

The release closes with There Goes My Love; a much cleaner, rock-esque song. A nice way to ease in and out of the album. I would love to hear more of the instrumental side in future works, with greater use of silence and breaks as the release does not let up, from start to finish. Silence Of The Tomb is a hard-hitting, high-paced, dark release, that transitions from melancholy to aggression and back again in the blink of an eye. 

Review written by Alex Moulton


About River

River is a multi instrumentalist and graphic designer. His debut solo album This Side Up and his second album Decipher were created for people thinking outside of the square.

River's third solo CD Earth Asunder incorporated poetry of dark beauty with gothic overtones and bard like progressions. River took a new musical direction on his fourth full-length album Shadows where he crafted songs of melodic intricacy with a heavier undercurrent. After a hiatus, River has released his fifth solo work entitled Silence Of The Tomb.

River incorporates a medley of various artistic styles into a cross-disciplinary musical expression. His sound is best described as alternative underground and does not lend itself easily to explanation or cross-reference.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for River


Endless Winter
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Silence Of The Tomb
Year: 2018
Type: EP
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Earth Asunder
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Year: 2008
Type: Album
This Side Up
Year: 2006
Type: Album

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