Tomb of Finland – Across the Barren Fields Review

As I inch closer to hitting a full decade of writing for Angry Metal Guy Industries, Ltd., I like going back and revisiting bands I reviewed before, normally in hopeful anticipation of new material. Not only is it because of morbid curiosity in seeing any progress, but this is kinda-sorta like watching a child grow older before your eyes. You want what’s best for them. In 2015, I reviewed Below the Green, the debut album from Tom of… TOMB. TOMB of Finland. Sorry. That “b” is important, kiddos. Anywho, it was a promising debut rife with melancholy, righteous riffs, and a dour atmosphere that smothered everything in green ichor. Seven years, a couple line-up shuffles, and two albums later,1 these five fine Finnish chaps have unearthed their third, Across the Barren Fields.

And if opening track “Waiting For the End” is any indication, Across the Barren Fields sees the Tomb being hellbent for funereal leather. With Olli Suvanto’s guttural bark and long growls and drummer Jann Lukki deftly switching up speeds and syncopations with relative ease, “Waiting For the End” would be a master2-class of doom/death songwriting. But it’s the guitar tandem of Jasse von Hast and Mikko Hannuksela, pulling from the leather-bound3 tomes of Sentenced and early Paradise Lost, hitting your earholes and thought-cavity like the strongest of poppers. With leads and twin melodies smacking roughly against your ears and face, you can’t help but submit.4

Those good (dark) vibes keep a-comin’ on this 43-minute jaunt through the darkened woods. “Shadows of the North” possesses some tight At the Gates-style riffing that’ll get you amped enough to fight a bear, whether it’s the forest-dwelling variety or the kind that hang out at the bars in major metropolitan cities on Friday nights. Penultimate track “The Gallows,” the album’s “epic” at a hair below seven minutes, definitely feels half the length as the quintet guides the listener through a cornucopia of feels and moods, culminating in an atmospheric end that bleeds right into closing instrumental, “In Memoriam,” where Hast and Hannuksela both take turns soaring above the clouds, trading off lead after beautiful lead as the song (and album) finally fade out. This brisk nature of “get in, do what you need to do, and get out” benefits Across the Barren Fields in ways I wish other doom/death metal bands could grasp.

With that all said, the album does contain some mood-killers. The biggest, album mid-point “Wretched Bliss,” is an otherwise good song that contains some killer riffs, amazing lead guitars, and some serious rhythmic swagger between Lukki and bassist Ville Kangasharju. It sadly also contains some hilariously bad growl-singing that sounds like a cross between a horny imp and South Park’s Ned Gerblanski without his trusty electrolarynx. No matter how many times I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, when those vocals come in, they kill the mood quicker than discussing politics with family members. Also, the second half, while not bad whatsoever, pales in relative comparison to the strong first half of the album. That said, this is a great album to sit through no matter what the mood. Happy or sad, doomy or sunny, top or bottom… Across the Barren Fields does not judge.

And so, Tomb of Finland reign triumphant again with their newest. Again, it’s always cool to see a band grow and mature as years progress, and Across the Barren Fields makes for another wonderful addition to your kinky dungeon rumpus doom/death library. If you’ve got the time to spare, call your mommy and (leather)daddy and let them know that the Tomb awaits you, and that if they need to reach you, you’re only a safe word away.5

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Uprising! Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: August 19th, 2022

Show 5 footnotes

  1. We never got the follow-up, 2018’s Frozen Beneath.
  2. ;)
  3. :-D
  4. That’s quite enough of that! – Steel
  5. If anyone needs me, I’ll perpetually be in HR.
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