Interview with Mike Hill of Tombs | By Michael Pementel
Kali Ma: the Hindu goddess who brings about destruction to create a new reality. The path of enlightenment through darkness makes for the major theme in The Grand Annihilation, Tombs’ fourth studio record and Metal Blade debut, released on June 16. The record emerges with ideas steeped in philosophy, wrapped in a blackened, sludgy aura. “I write about feelings and reactions to my environment, be it my physical environment or my emotional environment,” says vocalist Mike Hill says. His writing and views come together in a worldly manner through The Grand Annihilation, the lyrics speaking to a larger sense of humanity’s existence.
“This is a very dark and introspective record that digs deep into the common ideas of mortality, infinity, and cosmic mysteries,” he notes. Much of the Brooklyn band’s sound weighs heavy with a strong existential black metal energy. When tapping into those black metal vibes, Hill isn’t interested in the standard Satanic imagery, but rather, the philosophies and views of the “outsider.” The heft of somber questions and ideas rises and crashes upon the listener’s eardrums throughout each track.
Since 2016’s All Empires Fall EP, Hill has crafted music with a new level of depth and ethereal wonder. Since day one, he has been the sole mastermind behind Tombs, and his chemistry with the band’s current lineup helped his visions come to life on the new record. “I need to play with people that have a proven track record, have been on the road, and have experience in professional recording,” Hill says. The Grand Annihilation presents itself in a magical fashion, the delivery of music that both relentlessly pummels and flows with mystic vibes. The album’s sound is the most expansive the band have created so far.
“The lyrics on the new record are a celebration of freedom through embracing the dark side,”
Hill states. His inspiration, lyrically and instrumentally, includes interests from both his own life and the arts. “There is no formula; I literally sit down and play guitar,” he says. “I have a notebook where I write. I love art, music, and film, and it finds its way into my creative expression.” When he was younger, Hill tackled more personal subject matter, but as an evolving artist, his goal now is to create material that embraces humanity’s collective consciousness.
Despite the record’s many themes, Hill just wants The Grand Annihilation to be a unique musical experience for everyone. “I want everyone to just get into it and react to the power of the music,” he shares. “If they dig deeper, they can find the layer of intent that lies beneath, and maybe even make their own connections.”
The cosmic force that is Tombs has put forth a promising and powerful work of art in this new record. Its themes push the listener to engage and question their place in the world, all while providing utterly enchanting and brutal instrumentation. Hill has proven time and time again Tombs’ ability to evolve and has raised the band to a level of auditory and existential intrigue that is sure to excite and inspire listeners.