Album Review: Street Tombs – Reclusive Decay

Album Review: Street Tombs - Reclusive Decay
Reviewed by Sam Jones

It’s always good to recognise a band’s first full length release, especially after years of effort have gone into its conception. That’s the case with US death metal act, out of New Mexico, Street Tombs, signed with Carbonized Records. Having formed a number of years ago, Street Tombs have put out a number of Demos between 2018 and 2021, yet at last the band are poised to unleash their debut full length album upon the hungry masses. Can Street Tombs pierce the miasma and give fans something that will endear them to their name and sound? Let’s delve in to find out.

The band may play a pretty savage form of death metal but it surprised me to acknowledge how Street Tombs keep their songwriting concise and to the point. When you listen to the band play, there’s never any trepidation their songwriting is suddenly about to fly off the handle and into some far off place you can’t follow them into; the band’s performance is extremely grounded and ensures their audience will be able to experience every moment and tiniest minutiae that can come across. The riffs, bass and vocals may each possess a hard hitting impact, but the energy that’s being channeled into that impact is funnelled in such a way you can feel the payoff the impact has. By allowing us to experience everything the band are throwing at us, Reclusive Decay helps us become involved and immersed. It ultimately makes for a very satisfying album listen.

This extends to the very guitar work as well; touching upon the aforementioned grounded nature of the record, the riffs play a sizeable role in establishing this record in being simultaneously deadly yet approachable. The guitar tone is thick to the listen, you can feel the clenched aesthetic the riffs harness as they’re sent through the record, cementing the band’s sound with a concrete foundation the rest of the band is able to work off of. What I especially enjoyed regarding the riffs, was the clarity rendered to such a viscous performance. Often, when bands opt for a fatter guitar tone, its impact can become lost in the mix or vastly diminished against the multitudinous and powerful elements also lying therein. Street Tombs have mixed their riffs in excellently, allowing us the opportunity to experience the meaty vocals all the while that grounded but forceful guitar performance is continuously propping it and the rest of the band up.

Album Review: Street Tombs - Reclusive Decay

That grounded aspect of Street Tombs’ identity is also, curiously, found in the drumming as well. It took me aback discovering how their songwriting never utilised blast beats at any discernible point throughout the entire album; considering that Street Tombs play with a certainly sharper, though not entirely visceral, style of performance, blast beats would not have been out of place with such a record. It’s therefore all the more enticing in my mind to be attentive to their songwriting knowing they aren’t going for total aggression at every possible moment. With that said, their bass has been exceedingly amplified through the mix so when the bass drums are brought into the fray, the band captures a punishing soundscape that renders it impossible to turn away from. But, by removing blast bleats from the chemistry of their sound, Street Tombs guarantee your attention will be on the band as a whole and not on any singular, domineering element.

Vocally, it’s a pretty interesting record. Between the vocal delivery and the songwriting, fans will understand early on what kind of record Street Tombs unveiled for them. Just as the riffs and choices in instrumentation detail, the vocals find their place amongst the band’s chemistry and then don’t move too far outside what we initially hear. I imagine many would rather hear the vocals emit more visceral or extreme performance minutiae, yet Reclusive Decay isn’t that kind of album. Maybe the band will opt for something more adventurous upon a second or third outing, but with this album, the band and record are each very comfortable with vocals that know their place. They have a level-headed and well controlled element to their performance so, even as the band’s ferocity increases, we can keep on following the vocals without getting lost within the band’s performance.

In conclusion, Reclusive Decay is a solid opening album for Street Tombs. As introductory records go for a new band, this might just be the ideal first album fans would like to be met with. Its plausible Street Tombs will demonstrate a keener eye for pushing the envelope on future releases but, for what Reclusive Decay has been tasked with doing, the band have done a great job at getting their foot in the door here. It’s a record that’s rooted to the earth and I don’t think that’s merely down to being a young band; owing to their songwriting, it feels to be a natural part of their identity so I don’t think we’ll see much that’s too wild emanate from Street Tombs. But if fans are seeking something that provides copious swathes of impact and crushing, crunching tone, then Reclusive Decay may just be an album to be checked out.

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