Tombstones Call it Quits

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tombstones

Sorry to see these guys go, but one could hardly argue Norwegian doomers Tombstones aren’t disbanding at the top of their game. In 2015, the Oslo natives released their third album, Vargariis (review here), through Soulseller Records and this Spring found them on tour with doom legends Saint Vitus, which felt like a culmination meeting after guitarist/vocalist Bjørn-Viggo Godtland, bassist/vocalist Ole Christian Helstad and drummer Markus Støle made runs the last few years alongside Egypt, gigs with Conan and slews of others, appearances at Freak Valley and Roadburn, a US incursion with an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas and a founding involvement in the Høstsabbat fest in their hometown.

Stepping back and looking at it, one can’t help but wonder if that tour with Vitus didn’t have some impact on their decision to keep going, or if there was a conversation afterwards about direction or some assessment of where they were at and headed as a band. Earlier this Spring, Støle released a debut offering from his new band Hymn (review here), which pushed in a different direction than Tombstones, so it’s certainly possible that exploration will continue. As for what Godtland and Helstad will do going forward, it remains to be seen, but when I hear or see something, I’ll do my best to keep up with it. On levels of style and substance, Tombstones felt like a band who had come into their own and still had much to offer. So it goes.

They announced their breakup as follows:

tombstones logo

Everyone!!

The day has come. Tombstones will no longer exist as a band. We are eternally grateful for what the band has granted us over the last decade. Fans, promoters, bands, bookers, labels, festivals and friends have given us more memories filled with joy than we could ever hope for. After such a long time, you go through ups- and downs, and the decision to put the band on hold feels right, but still sad.

The decision is mutual, and is based upon the fact that we as a group are no longer able to continue in the same direction. Sometimes motivation can be lost, the juice runs out and you long for inspiration elsewhere. This is the crossroads we found ourselvses in at the moment.

We would like to thank Jorn from Soulseller , Klaus from Vibra and Jerome from Eclipse in particular. You have been nothing but awesome over the years.

This doesn’t mean we will stop making music. Keep your eyes peeled for future projects.

Thank you all, we love you!!

https://www.facebook.com/norwegiandoom/
https://tombstonesoslo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, Vargariis (2015)

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Tombstones Announce Tour Dates with Saint Vitus

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tombstones

As far as gigs in doom go, opening for Saint Vitus is close to as good as it gets. That’s the situation in which Oslo’s Tombstones find themselves as they continue to support their 2015 album, Vargariis (review here), released by Soulseller Records. Between the two, it’s a doomed-as-hell combo that will plod its way around Europe in May, and with Vitus continuing to work with original vocalist Scott Reagers, all the more an event for those fortunate enough to be in their path.

Can’t help but wonder too if Tombstones might have some new material on offer as we get a little further out from the Vargariis release. I asked bassist/vocalist Ole Helstad for some comment on doing the tour and he was tight-lipped on the possibility, but not mentioning it isn’t necessarily a no.

Dates and whatnot follow for the converted and soon to be converted:

tombstones tour with saint vitus

Tombstones – Tour Supporting Saint Vitus

We’re hitting the European roads alongside Saint Vitus in May. Come bang your head!

TOMBSTONES live with SAINT VITUS:
08.04 Copperfields Stockholm SWE
02.05 Helvete Oberhausen DE
03.05 Schlachthof Wiesbaden DE
04.05 Backstage Munich DE
05.05 Kammgarn Schaffhausen CH
06.05 Little Devil Tilburg NL
07.05 Patronaat Haarlem NL
08.05 Day off
09.05 Bastard Club Osnabruck DE
10.05 Hafenklang Hamburg DE
11.05 Voxhall Aarhus DK
12.05 Nojesfabriken Karlstad SWE
13.05 Pokalen Oslo NO
14.05 Pumpehuset Copenhagen DK

Says Ole Helstad:

“We are extremely thrilled to finally go on tour with Vargariis. It’s been a while since last time, and we miss meeting our friends and fans around Europe. It’s such a huge honor to be able to share stages with such legends as Saint Vitus. It’s a dream come true for us.”

Tombstones has taken up on their Norse heritage, evolving from their previous stoner-influenced sound, now descending into the dark side of the gloom.

“Vargariis” finds the band leaning towards the bleak and desperate, assaulting the listener with their blackened, thunderous wall of fuzz and despair.

https://www.facebook.com/norwegiandoom/
https://tombstonesoslo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, Vargariis (2015)

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The Order of Israfel, Year of the Goat and Tombstones Announce Early 2017 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Lest a day should go by without a reminder of how frickin’ awesome Europe’s heavy underground is, Napalm Records sends word of an early 2017 co-headlining tour from Swedish acts Year of the Goat and The Order of Israfel to be supported by Oslo’s Tombstones. The run kicks off late in January and will go into the middle of the next month, and will be preceded by a new Year of the Goat single out Dec. 9, as The Order of Israfel continue to support their 2016 sophomore outing, Red Robes (review here), that found them refining their take on classic doom.

Particularly stoked for Tombstones opening this stint, as it seems like a prime opportunity for them to turn some heads with their brash, deeply-weighted groove, which should rest well alongside The Order of Israfel‘s traditionalism and the cultistry of Year of the Goat. Good mix all around, if you happen to be in that part of the world.

From the PR wire:

year-of-the-goat-the-order-of-israfel-tombstones-tour

YEAR OF THE GOAT & THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL Co-Headlining Tour in 2017!

Now this is how a new year should start!

Two fantastic bands from the Napalm Records roster – THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL & YEAR OF THE GOAT – have teamed up with Tombstones as support to hit the road all across Germany, Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Austria and Switzerland!

THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL are already extremely looking forward to this tour:

“We are extremely happy to announce our next tour that will take place in January-February 2017. It is a Co-headlining tour with our friends and label mates Year Of The Goat! Support on this tour will be Tombstones!”

The band’s first steps might have been heavily influenced by genre icons such as Cathedral, Pentagram and Witchcraft, but the four piece has firmly established its very own brand of slow-motion magnificence in 2016 with their latest masterpiece Red Robes.

YEAR OF THE GOAT deliver finest and darkest occult doom rock! This is captivating, unique and majestic! Their latest effort The Unspeakable was released in 2015, so it’s time to hit the road again! By the way, the band will release a 7″ single “Song Of Winter” on December 9th.

YEAR OF THE GOAT states:
“We are truly looking forward to be out on the European road again, this time with a package that we’re sure will provide many magical moments. Besides returning to countries and cities we love, we get to visit a few countries and places for the first time as well. We will put together a show of our favourite songs from our current catalogue and bring the uplifting gospel of Lucifer as well as a Lovecraftian gloom. Welcome to the sermon!”

The result of both bands together is a wondrous, mystical piece of art featuring unforgettable vocals and ten-ton riffing that will haunt you for aeons and especially on their upcoming co-headlining tour!

Find all dates listed below & don’t miss this power package including co-headlining THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL and YEAR OF THE GOAT with support of Tombstones live on tour!

28.01.17 DE – Berlin / Badehaus
29.01.17 DE – Osnabrück / Bastard Club
30.01.17 DE – Hamburg / Hafenklang
31.01.17 DE – Wiesbaden / Schlachthof
01.02.17 NL – Arnhem / Willemeen
02.02.17 UK – London / Underworld
04.02.17 TBA
06.02.17 CH – Olten / Coq D’Or
07.02.17 IT – Milano / Lo Fi
08.02.17 DE – Munich / Backstage
09.02.17 AT – Vienna / Viper Room
10.02.17 DE – Leipzig / UT Connewitz
11.02.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

www.facebook.com/TheOrderOfIsrafel
www.theorderofisrafel.com
www.facebook.com/yearofthegoat
https://www.facebook.com/tombstonesoslo/

The Order of Israfel, “Swords to the Sky” lyric video

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Psycho Las Vegas Announces New Lineup Additions

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

psycho-las-vegas-lineup

Goodness gracious. Here I was minding my business on a Sunday night and Psycho Las Vegas went and more than doubled the size of its lineup, adding Uncle Acid, Elder, Converge, Wovenhand, Boris, The Black Heart Procession, Budos Band, Dead Meadow, SubRosa, Midnight, Disenchanter, Lumerians, Tombstones, ASG, Death Alley, Ides of Gemini, Goya, Dirty Streets, Crypt Sermon, Mantar, Gozu, Beelzefuzz, Lo-Pan, Holy Grove, CHRCH, Carousel and more. Not like the fest wasn’t huge already, but big bands, small bands, in-between bands, European bands, Asian bands, West Coast bands, East Coast bands — pretty much if it falls under the category of “bands,” they’re probably playing. And by way of a friendly reminder, this isn’t it. As you can see in the lineup below, there are more announcements to come next month.

Just look at this insane shit:

psycho las vegas poster

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2016

Psycho Entertainment
Friday, August 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM – Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 12:00 AM (PDT)
Las Vegas, NV

BLUE OYSTER CULT
SLEEP
UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
PENTAGRAM
CANDLEMASS
DEATH
TRUTH AND JANEY
CONVERGE
(Announced March 3rd)
BUDOS BAND
WOVENHAND
(Announced March 3rd)
BLACK HEART PROCESSION
FU MANCHU
BORIS
DOWN
ZOMBI
COLOUR HAZE
YOB
DEAD MEADOW
ELDER
ACID KING
DANAVA
SUBROSA
MIDNIGHT
SATAN’S SATYRS
THE SHRINE
JUCIFER
BONGRIPPER
BLOOD OF THE SUN
ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE
MARS RED SKY
SPELLJAMMER
BELZEBONG
THE COSMIC DEAD
TOMBSTONES
LUMERIANS
ASG
SAVIOURS
A STORM OF LIGHT
DEATH ALLEY
LECHEROUS GAZE
DIRTY STREETS
IDES OF GEMINI
GOYA
SPENCER MOODY SOLO (Murder City Devils)
WITCH MOUNTAIN
HAS A SHADOW
ASHBURY
CRYPT SERMON
MONDO DRAG
MANTAR
TALES OF MURDER AND DUST
SHROUD EATER
CRAZY BULL
DEMON LUNG
LOPAN
CHRCH
BEHOLD THE MONOLITH
DISENCHANTER
CAVE OF SWIMMERS
HORNSS
CAROUSEL
TIA CARRERA
GOZU
FLAVOR CRYSTALS
HOLY GROVE
BEELZEFUZZ
GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST
FAMILY
HIGHLANDS
LYCUS
THE COMPANY CORVETTE
WASHERWOMAN
THE RARE BREED
INVDRS

Psycho Pool Party 8.25.16
MUDHONEY
FATSO JETSON
MOTHERSHIP
GOLDEN VOID
ELECTRIC CITIZEN
MAC SABBATH
GREENBEARD

ACCOMMODATIONS
Join the bands and crew at the Hard Rock Hotel & use the code: Psych16 at checkout to recieve 30% off your rooms.

ANNOUNCEMENT SCHEDULE
1/20 – “Warm up” Tickets Onsale 8am pst
2/14 – Full Lineup (60+ acts)
3/15 – Headliners Revealed
5/4 – Van/Chopper & Alt Exhibitions

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/psycho-las-vegas-2016-tickets-20777507083
WWW.PSYCHOLV.COM
WWW.HARDROCKHOTEL.COM

Sleep, Live at Psycho California, May 16, 2015

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audiObelisk Transmission 054

Posted in Podcasts on November 25th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

I put up a podcast last year on the day before Thanksgiving as well. At least I’m consistent. In the US, today is the biggest travel day of the year, and I continue to feel like there are few things better in this universe than hitting the road accompanied by good music. Whether you’re driving alone on your way to see family for the holiday, commuting to work (that one doesn’t necessarily have to be by car, I suppose), going to stand on line for some silly discount item or whatever it might be, I hope you find something here you consider worth bringing along for the trip.

The holidays are always a pretty stressful time — when isn’t? — so once it gets past the initial burst of heft from Tombstones, this one stays pretty mellow for the most part. Deville and Kind rock pretty hard, but once it moves into the Dirty Streets and Old Man Lizard and so on, it’s more nod than headbang, which is accurate to where my brain is at. Looking for something chill in the face of miles to cover and meals to consume. If you’re in the US, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and if not, I hope you enjoy just the same.

Track details follow:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Isaak, “Fountainhead” from Sermonize
0:03:58 Tombstones, “Pyre of the Cloth” from Vargariis
0:13:30 Hound, “Over the Edge,” from Out of Space
0:17:44 Deville, “Mind on Hold” from Make it Belong to Us
0:21:17 Kind, “German for Lucy” from Rocket Science
0:28:26 Dirty Streets, “Save Me” from White Horse
0:31:55 Old Man Lizard, “Craniopagus Paraciticus” from Old Man Lizard
0:40:43 Across Tundras, “No Roads in any Direction” from Home Free
0:46:52 Niche, “On Down the Line” from Heading East
0:52:11 Wired Mind, “Road” from Mindstate: Dreamscape

Second Hour:
1:03:07 Seedy Jeezus, “Echoes in the Sky” from Echoes in the Sky
1:19:03 Dorre, “One Collapsed at the Altar” from One Collapsed at the Altar

Total running time: 1:49:21

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 054

 

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Tombstones, Vargariis: When Heathens Strive (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 24th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

tombstones vargariis

[Please note: Click play above to stream Vargariis in full. It’s out Dec. 4 on Soulseller Records. Thanks to Tombstones and Soulseller for letting me host the stream.]

It may or may not be right to call such barbarity progressive, but there is definitely a sense of growth in Vargariis, the new full-length from Norwegian trio Tombstones. Released by Soulseller Records, it’s their fourth long-player — something I also said about late-2013’s Red Skies and Dead Eyes (review here) — and finds the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Bjørn-Viggo Godtland, bassist/vocalist Ole Christian Helstad and drummer Markus Støle in an entirely more brutal, vicious era. Granted, the rather sizable wall of fuzz in Godtland and Helstad‘s tones remains, but they’ve shifted the context in which that wall is constructed, and Vargariis‘ six-track/56-minute run is made simultaneously broader and more oppressive by flourishes of sludge and black metal extremism, as on “The Dark High,” which starts side B, or “Oceans of Consciousness” right before it.

On one side or the other, each track hovers around the nine-minute mark in runtime, but what Tombstones do with that time is varied in aesthetic despite being universally dark appropriate to the tones of the album’s cover art. Like the release before it, Vargariis was recorded live, tracked by Joona Hassinen at at Studio Underjord in Norrköping, Sweden (Audun Strype mastered), but the two are very different in terms of concept and execution, Tombstones having grown thanks to some considerable roadtime the last couple years into a more patient, sonically ambitious and lethally grooving outfit, willing and capable to bend the genre of doom to suit their purposes rather than the other way around.

They start with a slow-motion pummel in “Barren Fields,” which seems to nod at Conan in its tablesetting opening riff before shifting into more hypnotic fare. For a release so aggressive on the whole, it doesn’t seem appropriate to think of Vargariis‘ leadoff track as easing the listener into the rest of what’s to come, but a big function of “Barren Fields” seems to be in establishing a baseline — also a bassline; that roll is thick — on which the rest of the songs continue to build. Godtland and Helstad trade vocals effectively as Støle, who makes his first studio appearance with the band here, bashes away beneath the morass, a midsection break providing a breather before a quickened ending movement grows more and more headbang-worthy as it thrusts toward an inevitable conclusion. Bass and drums start the semi-title-track, “And When the Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise,” and the snare continues to be a punctuating factor through an extended intro and into a punishing slowdown of corresponding screams and growls that sets up a stretch of chugging, abrasive sludge topped with screams, moving into roaring shouts, Tombstones clearly having as much fun toying with the instrumental back and forth as that in the vocals.

tombstones

There’s not much by way of hope to be found in any of it, but the guitar takes just a touch of brightness to its tone in the final third before a sudden drop-off in the drums brings about a quick fade and the blasting, charred-black opening of “Oceans of Consciousness” to stamp it out. They don’t keep up the onslaught for the entire 10:14 (the longest runtime), but play again with tradeoffs and heathen and sludge nod before all the bombast and gutturalism crashes to a halt at about 5:20 in and they begin the linear build that will consume the rest of the track with minimalist rumble and percussive gruel. Even in the quietest reaches, “Oceans of Consciousness” is filthy, and the lead that marks the beginning of the last minute is likewise, but by the time they get there, Tombstones‘ plunder is long-since established and the only thing to do is sit back and be impressed at how they manage to make mud so dense flow so well.

Vargariis is a definitive step forward from Red Skies and Dead Eyes because where that album played one side off another somewhere between stoner and doom impulses — and did it well, I’ll add — Vargariis flagrantly refuses to be bound by those or other constrictions, and where the predecessor worked its two sides with a duality in accord with its title, Vargariis is multi-faceted throughout and cohesive in spite of which element might be forward at any given moment. Even for appearing on a band’s fourth record, that cohesion is an impressive feat in “Oceans of Consciousness,” and the second half of Vargariis continues to build outward from there, “The Dark High” conjuring darkened swirl early on, breaking in the middle and finishing with more uptempo push à la “When the Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise” as Støle distinguishes himself on drums and a long-sustained scream reminds of how effective harsh vocals can be when put to the right use. In addition to supplying a surprising dual-vocal hook, “Underneath the Earth” also brings about the most crushing tones on offer early on before shifting after six minutes — via standalone drums — into a fuzzier build that closes out.

That fuzzier vibe holds firm as the drums lead the way into “Pyre of the Cloth,” which is something of a further departure from the material before it in terms of its overall affect, though the oppressive heft is certainly a factor, particularly in the faster parts of the first half. There’s something psychedelic lurking beneath the surface ooze of “Pyre of the Cloth,” however, that isn’t in songs like “The Dark High,” and the closer locks in a central groove even as it rolls its way past excruciatingly slow sludge and higher-speed chugging Sleepism, ultimately finishing on the latter, and that winds up being the uniting factor holding it together. Like the bulk of the album before it, “Pyre of the Cloth” works structurally to hold together material that’s deceptively broad beyond its superficial drive toward the extreme, and most importantly, it shows Tombstones four albums in as a band whose palette is continuing to expand and who are clearly making the most of the experience they’re gaining along their way.

Tombstones on Thee Facebooks

Tombstones on Bandcamp

Soulseller Records

Soulseller Records on Thee Facebooks

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audiObelisk Transmission 053

Posted in Podcasts on October 19th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Yeah, it hasn’t been that long since the last podcast, I know, but my thinking on it was like this: Doesn’t matter. First off, not like anybody’s keeping tabs to see how long it’s been between one and the next. Second, I had the time to do it and I never really know these days when that’s going to happen, so I figured better to take advantage while I could. Third, screw it, it’s music. Who’s gonna complain?

I won’t say I never know what to expect when I put a podcast together like this, but sometimes these things take unexpected turns, and that definitely happened this time. Things got pretty heavy, pretty quickly, and while there are a couple sharp cuts between sounds, I kind of wanted to make that happen to offset how far things got. Noisy, thrashy, doomy, and that’s really all in the first hour, because in the second, it’s pretty much all space. I very much enjoy the second-hour-is-psych-as-hell thing, and I gotta say, this might be the best one I’ve arranged. I’m willing to wager that as you make your way through you won’t be able to tell where one song ends and the next one starts without looking at the time stamps below. Obviously, that’s the whole idea.

Enjoy:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Gentlemans Pistols, “Time Wasters” from Hustler’s Row
0:05:46 Irata, “March by Tens” from Sweet Loris
0:10:25 Skraeckoedlan, “Gigantos” from Sagor
0:17:47 Tombstones, “Barren Fields” from Vargariis
0:27:05 With the Dead, “Crown of Burning Stars” from With the Dead
0:33:23 All Them Witches, “Open Passageways” from Dying Surfer Meets His Maker
0:36:35 Vhöl, “Red Chaos” from Deeper than Sky
0:41:37 Saviours, “Hell’s Floor” from Palace of Vision
0:45:49 Jess and the Ancient Ones, “In Levitating Secret Dreams” from Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes
0:49:01 King Dead, “The Firmament of Heaven Opened, and the Flood Waters Were upon Them,” from Woe and Judgment
0:57:35 Dave Heumann, “Switchback” from Here in the Deep

Second Hour:
1:01:26 Mammatus, “Sparkling Waters Pt. One” from Sparkling Waters
1:23:19 Valley, “Picture Puzzle Pattern Door” from Sunburst
1:33:16 Humulus, “Red Star, Winter Orbit” from Electric Walrus
1:44:29 Shabda, “Pharmakos” from Pharmakon/Pharmakos

Total running time: 2:04:54

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 053

 

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Tombstones Announce Vargariis for Dec. 4 Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

tombstones (Photo by Stig Lovas)

Norwegian trio Tombstones make their way, plundering, toward veteran status. Their new one, Vargariis, is listed as their fourth full-length. I had thought their last outing, 2013’s Red Skies and Dead Eyes (review here), was their fourth, but I’m probably off. So it goes. In any case, Vargariis is due out Dec. 4 through Soulseller Records, and finds Tombstones a band who has played numerous festivals throughout Europe — the usual suspects: Roadburn (where they played “Barren Fields” with the visuals in the video below behind them; review here), DesertfestFreak Valley, and then some — as well as toured earlier this year alongside North Dakotan riffers Egypt.

As a result, I have pretty high expectations for what Vargariis might bring to their sound, and the Conan-style lumber of newly-unveiled album opener “Barren Fields” does little to dissuade my hopes. Soulseller sent over the details for the record and you can find them as they appeared from the PR wire under the artwork below, followed of course by the track.

Dig it:

tombstones vargariis1

TOMBSTONES – “Vargariis”

Norwegian doomheads TOMBSTONES return with their 4th full-length album – their heaviest work so far without any doubt!

“Vargariis”, the successor of “Red Skies and Dead Eyes” (2013) will be released on December 4th 2015 via Soulseller Records on CD, vinyl and digitally.

TOMBSTONES has taken up on their Norse heritage, evolving from their previous stoner-influenced sound, now descending into the dark side of the gloom. “Vargariis” finds the band leaning towards the bleak and desperate, assaulting the listener with their blackened, thunderous wall of fuzz and despair. Two years of intensive touring alongside bands such as Eyehategod, Church of Misery, Egypt and Witch Mountain have kept the band active, and the result unveils in the energy and live presence felt on “Vargariis”. The last couple of years Tombstones has appeared on the legendary Roadburn Festival, Desertfest, Freak Valley Festival, Muskelrock, Doom Over Leipzig, and tours in support of “Vargariis” in 2016 are in the works.

Tracklist:
1. Barren Fields
2. And When The Heathen Strive, Vargariis Rise
3. Oceans Of Consciousness
4. The Dark High
5. Underneath The Earth
6. Pyre Of The Cloth

https://www.facebook.com/tombstonesoslo
http://tombstonesoslo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, “Barren Fields”

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