TOOTHGRINDER, come from the US and more specifically, from New Jersey. “Nocturnal Masquerade” is their first full length and from what I have searched, I spotted out that they are one of the most interesting bands, right now in the metal scene.
After two mini releases, these five musicians – Wills Weller (drums), Jason Goss (guitar), Matt Mielke (guitar), Matt Arensdorf (bass), and Justin Matthews (vocals) together with producer Taylor Larson (Darkest Hour, Periphery) – bring us their debut album, which, as stated, they hope it will explode our minds.
All that, raised my hope and expectations, even before I press play and listen to the album. Therefore, I was totally excited, after listening to the opening track called “The House (That Fear Built)”. The melodic semi-acoustic intro chord, followed by an explosion of blast beats, stirred my curiosity higher. This motif continued until the end of the album. The melody and the heavy brutal parts always taking their turns and the structure of the songs, is what most people call progressive and experimental. Which is that one and only thing, that kept me on listening to the album.
It is really interesting and exciting, to see how they succeed on changing forms musically, throughout the entire release. Although, the same exact element, made me a bit sceptic and to be honest it, somehow, disappointed me.
Musically, TOOTHGRINDER, cannot be specified because they are dancing on the edges of a variety of genres. Not that I am fond of labeling music, but this quintet gave me really difficult times. From the prog/core of “Coeur d’Alene” to the melodic IN FLAMES-y (of the late era) “Diamonds For Gold” and from the ethereal mathcore parts – a tribute to their fellow countrymen THE DILLINGER ESC PLAN – to the djent passages, with songs like the title track and “Blue” reek of MESHUGGAH, the diversity is evident. Therein, lay the tracks that stood out for me, being the highlights of the album. I should also remark, that on the song “Diamonds For Gold” you can hear PERIPHERY’s front man, Spencer Sotelo, as guest vocalist.
This diversity is what alienated me, from the album. I should be honest and say that, after the fourth of fifth song, I lost my interest on it. A lot may say, that this complexity is what makes this band special. On that, I disagree, and I would like to say that this is what made the album lacking of cohesiveness. It is quite crucial to me, that the album has a start and an end. To this statement, I am trying to be always true. I really hope, that my honesty, would not be misunderstood, as it is mostly used on these tough times, we are currently living through. Despite that, I am really optimistic for the band’s future.
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