Mike Hill is not a man interested in appeasing his existing audience or modifying the music he makes in the hope of luring in a broader one. Anyone doubting this need only look to the recorded output Tombs have dropped over the past decade, which while ultimately remaining rooted in the blackened, post-metallic sound vomited up on 2007's self-titled EP, has constantly diversified and evolved. With The Grand Annihilation, Tombs' fourth full-length and Metal Blade debut, this tradition is maintained, and in many ways it is the most epic, ambitious, emotionally and tonally varied of the band's career.
Following up 2014's full-length, Savage Gold, Hill had his work cut out for him, acknowledging that it was "the closest we came to realizing what I thought the band should sound like." Showcasing a more brutal, extreme side of the band, it hit home hard, and the touring cycles that followed saw them being embraced by ever bigger crowds. When it came time to track the new record Hill once again enlisted Erik Rutan, whose production discography includes seminal releases from Cannibal Corpse, Soilent Green, Belphegor and his own Hate Eternal.
The Grand Annihilation's rich yet unfussy production ensures every song comes to life as if caught in the moment of its creation, crackling with energy and emotion and standing them apart from the plethora of bands with overly compressed, polished – and ultimately muted – additions to their catalogs. But then it's hard to imagine Tombs sounding anything but real, and Hill's ultimate motivation will always underpin this. "Music and rhythm have always been part of human rituals. Ancient people made music and art to connect to something that they felt existed on a higher level, and I always try to achieve this in that which I create."