On their second album, Winter Hours, Tombs, along with mixing engineer Ian Whalen, have managed the unlikely feat of making music that sounds utterly brutish over speakers of all shapes and sizes and at low volume, too yet paradoxically reveals a wealth of detail with the use of headphones. Make no mistake, though: The crude, yowling vocals and insistent squall of guitars hearkens back to early releases by Helmet, Unsane, and contemporaries like Converge. Occasionally, the noise suddenly gives way to spacious passages that linger in the air for seconds before the trio slams them back to the periphery. A hardcore veteran and respected engineer in his own right, bandleader/frontman (and Anodyne alum) Mike Hill may draw comparisons to shoegaze and The Swans, but if hes tempered his approach any, it doesnt show with Tombs, who basically use ambience in order to make their abrasiveness hit that much harder.
Sun., March 14, 8 p.m., 2010