Atlanta’s Tómarúm thread a tricky needle on their first full-length, Ash in Realms of Stone Icons (out May 6 via prosthetic). Their black metal is scaled to the cosmos, replete with windswept, folk-inflected passages, WITTR-sized walls of hypnotic guitar, tech-y fretless bass explorations, and dexterous, Opethian prog workouts. Three of the album’s five proper songs clock in beyond the 10-minute mark. Nothing feels off limits, musically.
It’s against this maximalist backdrop that guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist Kyle Walburn unburdens himself of a lifetime of mental health struggles. His often-harrowing lyrics excavate his experiences with depression, anxiety, and grief, and their intimacy doesn’t contrast with the epic scope of the music so much as it reinforces it. Walburn’s unflinching introspection is as crucial to the Tómarúm sound as the labyrinthine riffs he trades with bandmate Brandon Iacovella. If a band like Agalloch makes you think of the vastness of nature, Tómarúm makes you think of the solitary person sitting in the woods, contemplating that vastness.
“In This Empty Space” feels like an emotional rock bottom, even on an album consisting mostly of rock bottoms. It sees Walburn fantasizing about the dubious legacy he’d leave behind after committing suicide: “No mark left upon this world/My insignificance forever forgotten/No longer a fucking burden/On those close to me.” As the statement below indicates, he’s in a much better place these days — all thanks to Tómarúm. He’s also wrong about what he’ll leave behind, hopefully many decades from now. The mark he’s left upon this world is called Ash in Realms of Stone Icons, and it’s a hell of a legacy.
“Almost five years after the first riffs were written, the day is upon us,” says Walburn. “We are beyond proud to unleash, Ash in Realms of Stone Icons, via Decibel in its entirety after thousands of hours of obsessive work. This record has been a passion project of mine since I was 19, and its creation has served as a coping mechanism during some of the most difficult times of my life. Having it complete and out into the world feels like a tremendous weight has been lifted; the ultimate catharsis after years of suffering.
“The feedback we’ve received thus far has been incredibly humbling, and we cannot wait to see where this album takes us in the years to come. We will be celebrating its release with a string of shows; first up is our album release show at Boggs Social and Supply in Atlanta, where we will be playing the record in its entirety, and then later in the month we will be embarking on a short string of east coast dates with labelmates Dawn of Ouroboros. Plans for more touring are underway, and we are also very deep into the writing process for our next record.”
Pre-order Ash in Realms of Stone Icons here.