One of the most anticipated albums of 2019, Silvertomb is made up of some pretty famous alumni of pretty legendary bands. Flying behind the sails of creativity from the talents of Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly of Type O Negative fame, the pair have played together since their were teens, and in other bands as well. But this time with help from some other stellar musicians, they have really coalesced sound of their influences, mainly classic Doom, Prog Rock, and Stoner Rock, into a signature style, to create the music that makes up their full-length debut album, Edge of Existence (Longbranch/SPV).
The lead track ‘Insomnia – Sunrise’ kicks the album off with an ominous chime-like riff, building tension before coming in with the main heavy riff. There is something about the chemistry when Kenny plays the riffs and Johnny holds the sticks, man. The dense sound of the albums peels back many layers to reveal all the elements firing in unison. Twin, sometimes triple-guitar parts, mellifluous keyboards, tight bass, and vocals all crashing together. There is an entire dream Beatles part that is great. The “Sunrise” part is a neat little coda that even in just a few seconds has a head for nostalgia with the reverb sound right off of Ozzy’s microphone sounding like l ‘Changes’. A sad, soulful tune with a lot of head-nodding riffs to chew on. A really good start.
Having seen Silvertomb live a few times, and listening mostly with just the singles, repeated spins really gives you the chance to hear little surprises and what this bands’ capabilities are. In his past bands like Seventh Void, Hickey sang lead, but now he is much surer – really letting it fly both in terms of range and melody. While he is likely going to keep improving in this area, he really has started to come into his own, which helps since the lyrics and vibe of this album is a bleak emotional meat grinder. Depression, loss, addiction, suicide, anguish, a few momentary small comforts, followed by confusion and more grief, Kenny sings the words and leaves his heart bare for the listener. He really has an eerie pre-Badmotorfinger Chris Cornell type of wail at times. There are also several subtle melodic changes and even occasional Alice In Chains-like harmonies. Well done.
The other players in the band have no small parts either. Joe James (Agnostic Front/Inhuman) rips solo after solo, but he also drops in some tasteful supporting licks and harmonies too. Aaron Joos, the secret weapon on keys and third guitars, fills up a lot of space with those Pink Floyd/Deep Purple keyboard vamps and fills. Bassist Hank Hell (Inhuman) holds the low end down very well too.
One track, ‘So True’, has the heft and tempo of a medium thrash or groovy hardcore march, but most of these tracks live in a Stoner Doom/Heavy Metal wheelhouse. This serves the band well. Some of the songs have a pure proggy doom thing and it works beautifully on tracks like ‘Love You Without No Lies’, ‘Not Your Savior’, ‘Right of Passage – Crossing Over’, and ‘Waiting’.
It’s not all rain clouds and there are sunny moments peeking through at you from behind the gray. Silvertomb has arrived and is just the first salvo in a long journey.
8 / 10