SILVERTOMB has risen from the ashes of TYPE O NEGATIVE and, more recently, SEVENTH VOID. Half of the drab four, vocalist/guitarist Kenny Hickey and drummer Johnny Kelly, stand at the core of the New York-based act. The pair has jammed together since they were kids. Their tight bond both musically and personally shines throughout the band's impressive debut: "Edge of Existence".
Sure, the TYPE O NEGATIVE factor is naturally the marketing lightning rod. But the other members aren't slouches. They are stalwarts from established bands. Guitarist Joseph James has done time with AGNOSTIC FRONT and INHUMAN, and bassist Hank Hell also served time in INHUMAN. All four aforementioned musicians, in fact, comprised the final lineup of SEVENTH VOID, so comparisons to the signature doom 'n' gloom of TYPE O NEGATIVE and SEVENTH VOID are fair, inevitable and accurate. But SILVERTOMB is a quintet, actually, with Aaron Joos serving as third guitarist and keyboardist. His presence, too, brings TYPE O to mind because of his Josh Silver-like, DEEP PURPLE-esque keyboard parts.
Regardless of the natural tendency to focus upon the musical family tree at hand, the content within "Edge of Existence" certainly does plumb from the depths of all things TYPE O NEGATIVE. But the collective doesn't exclusively splatter the canvas with green and black. SILVERTOMB dips its brush in a palette that's broad enough to include stoner rock, prog and grunge. Fortunately, SILVERTOMB sounds driven by purpose and clear intent. Nothing sounds forced.
The album's lead single, "Insomnia/Sunrise", starts things off in fine form with a subtly menacing riff that's blasted away with one that's even more overtly hard hitting. The sound and style is familiar yet distinct, the mood is reliably dreary and depressive. "Not Your Savior" and "Waiting" entail the expected gloomy overcast; however, these tracks are also more expansive, revealing the quintet's interest and capabilities in pursuing something more progressive. "So True", meanwhile, stands as the greatest departure on "Edge of Existence" with the track's burly and catchy, mid-paced, heavy stomp that's not far removed from crossover.
Kenny was always a great singer. But following Peter Steele's tragic, untimely passing, Kenny has moved center stage as frontman. His vocal abilities are improving significantly since assuming the leading role. His voice embodies a "Seattle"-like resonance, and very much so on a song like "Rite of Passage / Crossing Over". More specifically, his voice parallels Chris Cornell, Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell in many ways.
Is SILVERTOMB's music as powerful as that of TYPE O NEGATIVE? No. But is "Edge of Existence" likely to satisfy those who are intrigued at the prospect of TYPE O NEGATIVE's surviving members jamming in a rock band? Absolutely. The album is incredibly dynamic and compelling, and they've created the foundation from which they can channel their creativity in a variety of ways that are likely to make sense next time around.