Category Archives: Give it a listen

Toothgrinder Stomp Some Molars

I actually stumbled across this band by a fortuitous mistake; there’s another band called Teethgrinder, with an excellent album called ‘Misanthropy‘, and when I saw Toothgrinder’s album on the rack for HMV and didn’t recognise the cover (and as it had been a while since I listened to ‘Misanthropy’ and the band name was a bit hazy), I mistook it for a new Teethgrinder album. Instead, I’d gotten Toothgrinder’s first full-length effort ‘Nocturnal Masquerade‘. It’s rare to be so glad about a mistake (which isn’t to say I don’t want another Teethgrinder album, mind), but god damn.

‘Yeah so our music sounds like the honking of a moth-elephant, think you can capture that in your artwork?’

Toothgrinder are a real breath of fresh air. Catchy-as-hell, fist-pumping mayhem. In a very good way, it reminds me of the first Slipknot album; it’s aggressive and furious, yet the songs are easily distinguishable, melodic, and great to sing along to. They’re nominally a ‘progressive metal’ band, but it’s a bit of a useless term here; they’re progressive in the same way that Periphery are on songs like ‘Alpha‘ (i.e. they play around with song structure a bit more than Disturbed do—but don’t expect any tracks hitting the 10 minute mark). Interestingly, Periphery’s vocalist does actually provide vocals on one of the tracks. Opening like a bull out of a gate, ‘The House (That Fear Built)‘ charges around leaving no china vase unsmashed, provoking the immediate feeling of ‘Isn’t this amazing? Why aren’t more metal bands making songs like this?’. What’s great is that they don’t take long to move on to softer songs, what usually takes about 8 tracks on a metal abum that features melodic vocals (that, or it’s the last track), four tracks in and ‘I Lie In Rain‘ has slowed the pace to almost what would be the ‘apparently we have to have one’ acoustic track (although it’s softer in the same way that ‘Would You Still Be There‘ was in the context of ‘Restoring Force’ by Of Mice and Men), except Toothgrinder give the impression that acoustic guitars are only good for pummeling into splinters for a make-shift supply of plectrums. The album feels like everything was done on their terms, and I am very OK with that, because it’s what makes the album so fucking excellent. The dynamics are all over the place, but not in a frenetic way, and in that respect they earn the ‘progressive’ label; the album frequently changes tone, but you never feel lost. It’s not a iwrestledabearonce conondrum where you’re suddenly wondering how you went from ear-splitting frenzy to choral electronica. Another trend they buck is that the melodic vocals aren’t sung by someone who can reach notes higher than a prepubescent choir boy; more Corey Taylor (of Slipknot and Stone Sour) than Ashe O’Hara (of the best Tesseract album, ‘Altered State’).

There are very few bands that I will unquestionably go out and buy their new album without first listening to; Swallow The Sun, Akercocke, Tool, Anathema, A Perfect Circle, Karnivool, ISIS. I will definitely be snapping up whatever they release next, so, please Toothgrinder:


Have Screaming Issues With Issues? Try Slaves

TAWAAESlavesNot being particularly down with the kids (who would’ve thunk it?), I haven’t always been on the ball about artists that are actually worth paying attention to that everyone else has been. Following my overdue rant about Deezer, I was loading up some more artists I hadn’t heard before to give a listen to whilst I walk to work in the mornings. It was pretty much choosing at random (because as I previously stated, what the fuck else am I going to go on?). One such artist I happened to select was Slaves, the album called Through Art We Are All Equals. Based on the cover art and album name I was actually expecting a post-rock/metal act. Instead I got a djent-y (naturally), soul influenced (yes, you did read that right) alternative rock, and I am totally hooked. Must’ve listened to it about 5 times in a row yesterday, and it’s currently playing as I write this.
I’ve never heard of the vocalist before, but he seems to be popular with youths on Twitter and has a habit of getting kicked out of bands for being a drugged up douche bag. But you can overlook that for the fact that he’s one of the best vocalists I’ve ever heard. Honestly, his vocals are phenomenal and it’d be very easy to sell the album on that alone. Thankfully, the album has enough ideas and memorable melodies to make it an all-round win (funnily enough, it actually has Tyler Carter from Issues guest on one of the tracks).

Check out one of the singles below.

Also, if anyone can tell me who the bloody hell the vocalist reminds me of I’ll give them … no recognition whatsoever but inside I’ll be grateful.

Wo Fat; Rock For Your BBQ

WOFAT-cover-e1399485513778Curiously, not everyone shares my taste in music, and as such what to play at a BBQ (or any social event for that matter) is something of a bone of contention. I want to listen to something with a punch, but not everyone wants to burn flesh to the sound of the latest Aborted album (I know, right?). So if you’re looking for a compromise, try Wo Fat (incidentally, this might count as one of the weirdest musical endoresements of all time). Their latest release, the five-track ‘The Conjuring’, came out June 16th, so I’m a tad slow on the uptake with this one, but you should definitely go check it out.

Their sound is BIG, a bit like the angrier bits of Kyuss; a true pummeling of everything that makes stoner rock fantastic summer music, perfect for booze, smoke, and too many burgers.

Talking of BBQ, the Tour de France passed directly outside my house today (whereupon I discovered an interest in cycling for all of … this weekend) and as such, much beer and BBQ has been had this weekend; because of this, ‘The Conjuring’ has been seeing decent rotation on my playlist at the moment, and it should make an appearance on yours at some point too.

Pick up a copy HERE, where you can also stream track 4, ‘Beggar’s Bargain’.

My Frend Dun Gon’ Mayd Sum Moosak

Whilst this is definitely not a shameless way of plugging a friend, it turns out he’s actually quite talented and capable of making music I’d want to listen to. Which is really quite useful because otherwise plugging his stuff would be difficult, and I’m feeling lazy. It sounds like a halfway house between early 65daysofstatic & God Is An Astronaut, and if that doesn’t have you sold it’s because you’re a terrible person.

Annoyingly, the Powers That Be won’t let me helpfully insert the player into this post, so you’ll have to click more than once if you want to listen to it (unless it autoplays? It might, who knows; I have so many script-blockers running in Firefox that it’s difficult to know how a web page runs for normal people). So PLEASE CLICK HERE, make your friends listen to it so they also know how good it is, and then maybe drop a mention that I was good enough to point it out to you and that they should repay my infinite kindness with an insane amount of daily page views. That would be bloody spiffing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to occasionally bugging him to write something requiring vocals so I can make use of this decent microphone I have in my possession, but never had the chance to use.