Tómarúm, which translates from Icelandic to “empty space”, exists as a sonic vessel used to explore the mental void left by extreme emotional pain. Formed in 2017, the progressive black metal duo from Atlanta, Georgia tackles topics such as depression, anxiety, loss, and worthlessness over songs inspired equally by atmospheric black metal and technical death metal: melancholy, tremolo picked chords, aggressive pedal-point riffs and shred solos galore glide over precise and dynamic drumming, and are further accentuated by fretless bass, tasteful orchestrations, and a wide variety of vocal styles.
On their debut album, Ash in Realms of Stone Icons, sees vocalist / guitarist Kyle Walburn lyrically document lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety – honing in on feelings of betrayal and the isolation such a struggle brings. Kyle talks to Echoes and Dust about three releases that have musically influenced him and Tómarúm a lot. Ash in Realms of Stone Icons is out now on Prosthetic Records.
Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters
This album changed my life back when I was 15 and is the biggest reason why I write the kind of music that I do. I had never heard anything like it; I was so drawn to how hypnotic it was, how beautiful and emotional it was, and how much depth there was to it. It also started my penchant for long songs; as everyone can tell I’m not very capable of keeping things short and sweet. Every mid-paced black metal section and every bit of raw emotion on our record owes itself to Two Hunters.
Beyond Creation – Algorythm
For the longest time, I wasn’t really into technical death metal. I felt like a lot of what I was hearing was mechanical and soulless, and as someone obsessed with atmospheric black metal who really craves emotional weight in music, I just wasn’t vibing with it. Beyond Creation changed that for me, and I still feel like they are the perfect tech-death band – complex without coming across as showoff-y, interesting, and very expressive. I love all of their albums, but Algorythm is the one that really hit me. After listening to it a bunch I thought “What if I took the atmospheric black metal that I love so much, added some technicality, and really created something unique?” I can’t say that Tómarúm wouldn’t exist without this album, but we certainly wouldn’t be treading the same path had I not heard it.
Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
Speaking of emotion, Four Phantoms brings it harder than just about any other album I’ve heard. All 66 minutes of this record are jaw-droppingly beautiful and rife with emotion. ‘Suffocation, a Drowning: II’, specifically the clean vocal sections, destroys me every time I listen to it. Tómarúm obviously doesn’t draw a whole lot of influence from Bell Witch from a riff-writing perspective, but we certainly looked to Four Phantoms for inspiration when composing the clean vocal melodies and harmonies, as well as for the mood of the record.