Songs for Black Days: Tombs' Mike Hill | Revolver

Songs for Black Days: Tombs' Mike Hill

Extreme-metal musician shares 5 songs that've helped him through dark times
mike hill tombs
Tombs' Mike Hill

"I know it sounds trite, but the phrase 'music sooths the soul' actually holds a lot of weight," Tombs main man Mike Hill says. "Life can be challenging, difficult, heartbreaking and sometimes downright hopeless and music has often times provided the light that illuminated the darkness."

While Hill's own music, as heard on 2017's The Great Annihilation, is hardly uplifting or positive in a conventional sense, it has provided catharsis and meaning for many of Tombs' fans. Similarly, Hill himself has turned to certain songs for help when feeling down. We asked him to share a few of those for our ongoing "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day. Below is what he offered up — as he describes it, "a list of some jams that helped me navigate some of the heavy times that I've been through over the years."

Rollins Band - "What Do You Do"

This song is literally about endurance, staying the course and pushing yourself through the hardest of times. I figured that if Rollins lived through whatever he was going through to write this song, than I can hang in there a little longer. 

Check out these lyrics: "When the night lasts forever and time stands still/When you see yourself and want to kill."

It's my go-to hard jam for hard times.

Neurosis - "Locust Star"

Through Silver in Blood, the record that this song appears on, is generally considered Neurosis's creative pinnacle. Apparently, the band was living through some of the darkest times of their lives while making this record. [Neurosis singer/guitarist] Steve Von Till once described it as "a railroad through fucking Hell."

"Locust Star" is a song about transcending darkness. The song fills me with power. I have carried it around with me for decades, through treks across Europe, through times of hopelessness and depression and it sustained me, given me the needed push to keep going.

Black Flag - "My War"

The tender years of young adulthood can prove to be some of the most emotionally taxing years of our lives. When you're 18 years old, everything is intense, everything is crucial and emotionally extreme. When I was a young misfit, "My War" fueled the fires and helped me get through the years of feeling like an outsider.

Black Sabbath - "Iron Man"

The idea of "Iron Man" has always intrigued me. To wear an impenetrable suit of armor protecting a living heart sounds like a perfect situation. However, Black Sabbath shows us that no matter how much many layers of fortification we build up to protect us, none of us are immune to alienation.

Fields of the Nephilim - "Zoon Part 3 (Wake World)"

To be honest, I have no idea what Carl McCoy's lyrics mean in this song. I can tell you what it means to me. The opening lines, "As we begin the end/Let us close the wound this time, my friend/We live together, forever/Every breath that you will take I'll breathe," lead me to think that the character in the song has gone through some kind of romantic hardship and that ultimately, over a long enough timeline, everything is going to be OK. The key is staying alive, not giving up and things will turn out OK and the deepest wounds will be healed.

Every day in America, 121 people die by suicide. It only takes one to break the silence — take action in your community and sign Hope for the Day's mental health pledge.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to for a list of resources.