Tovarish’s Destructive New Experimental Doom Heralds Incoming Sociopolitical Apocalypse

The Rhode Island-based group Tovarish’s snarling new experimental, oppressive doom metal album If The War Comes Tomorrow feels like a step into the sociopolitical hell that to many feels just around the corner, especially as politics progresses into further chaos. When a political system or even just a part of said system collapses, there is a real human cost. American “regime change” efforts result in lives snuffed out, often violently and painfully, and even closer to the people of the United States, when their relentless commitment to “freedom” results in locking up tens of thousands of immigrants who mostly have no criminal allegations against them but are packed into overcrowded, dangerous conditions all the same — something is wrong. People are suffering. The new album from Tovarish captures a raw and really unforgettable portrait of this suffering, casting it through the lens of extreme heavy music and thematically, the culture of the former Soviet Union’s response to American expansionism. (“Tovarish” means comrade in Russian, among other relevant markers.)

The band unveil their vision of the devastation of our species through seemingly freely sampling from whatever they felt fit their ambition, including audio recordings of various apparent tense moments in modern social life. The record opens with the sound of police commanding gathered demonstrators to vacate the premises or face immediate violent action, but if you haven’t guessed as much by now — that call doesn’t exactly portend the rest of the album settling into a peaceful re-alignment of the relevant parts and that’s that.

Rather, menacing bursts of harsh, metallic energy break out in that very first track, accompanied by vocals twisted through modern industrial atmosphere to the point of being barely recognizable as human, even within the context of familiarity with extreme metal. The album only gets more intense across its runtime, progressing from those bursts into a more straightforward, utterly crushing weight of hazy chaos and ultimately ending up at a point when everything feels like it crashes together on the final track, which opens with an audio sample of people chanting “USA! USA!” The devastating chaos is thereby given an unsettlingly real context, and the album forces those who partake of it to see some of what’s really below the surface in the political progression around them. There’s some empowerment to be found among the wreckage, but it’s not remotely pretty.

5/5 Stars

Check out a track off the album below. Argonauta Records is releasing If The War Comes Tomorrow on July 5