What’s in a name? With Tombstoned, EVERYTHING. These Finnish funereal directors of rocking doom made a big splash with their self-titled debut album, released in 2013 by Svart Records, which garnered them a spot at Roadburn that year – curated by huge fan / Electric Wizard mainman Jus Oborn, no less – and reaped critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. And now, on April 22nd, Tombstoned return to better that debut with II, set to be released again by Svart on CD, LP, and digital formats.
If Tombstoned was the brash opening statement, then II is the more focused consolidation of strengths. By the band’s own admission, Tombstoned’s opening salvo crammed nearly every influence they possessed into every song, making for a wild, jam-oriented spin. Here on II, with all the band members now living in different countries, the process was more composed, resulting in tight, earth-shaking songs of molten, magnanimous might. Still within the boundaries of stoner doom, Tombstoned sought with II to take a more personal approach and express the harsh times they’ve been living recently, resulting in a lumbering celebration of slow-motion darkness. Additionally, the vocals have strayed from the usual Sabbath-inspired drawl to one of a gloomier post-punk aspect, furthering the band’s agenda to expand upon the stoner doom subgenre.
With a pallete like this, capturing the mood is of the utmost importance. And yet, when it came time to mix II, the studio engineer asked Tombstoned for reference records and nobody could think of any. Nevertheless, the band went with a simple, totally analog approach to production, capturing everything on vintage outboard gear and recording on reel tape. The result is a record equally warm as Tombstoned, but inducing bigger and deeper goosebumps. Dark times call for dark music, and Tombstoned have survived the grave to deliver II.