The indulgence in throwback black metal on Chaotic Devotion is immediately satisfying. The sound is reckless and confrontational, laden with a hail of molten strife.
A Lexington, Kentucky three-piece, Tombstalker already has a few crushing recordings under their belt, two well regarded EPs from early in their career, with this single being their first new work since 2015’s full length, Black Crusades. These grimly countenanced cave dwellers have evolved on a curious line. They have stripped their sound back, while at the same time, calling on traditional Swedish death metal as their influence.
Both of the tracks on this single are clipped, falling into the three and four-minute range. Tombstalker apparently isn’t out to showcase the ambitious side of their songwriting, not like they did in the pus-infested epics from their LP, Black Crusades and Chaos Entombed. The second song on Chaotic Devotion, “Treads Of War” comes off as the more satisfying of the pair, with songwriting that is more nuanced, offering cleaner percussion and instrumentation. On the opener, “Scared To Death” their sound is brash, tending more toward a tone setting, chaotic wall of noise.
This focused pair of songs has aggression to spare. There is less thrash dabbling here though, which makes me think the next Tombstalker LP is going even more old school.
Let’s hope so because there is little hope elsewhere in here.