Stabbing Westward

Toothgrinder – Phantom Amour Review

Toothgrinder – Phantom Amour Review

“Full disclosure: I took this review on fully expecting to hate this album. Readers may remember I already felt lukewarm about Toothgrinder’s 2016 debut Nocturnal Masquerade, whose poppier and less technical take on The Dillinger Escape Plan was bogged down by repetitive ideas and too many generic radio rock choruses. As the New Jersey quintet’s sharp hardcore riffing seemed to be the best thing about Masquerade, I ultimately concluded the band needed to get heavier, slapped it with a 3.0, and went back to eating Chinese food and jerking off.” Too much disclosure.

Nothnegal – Decadence Review

Nothnegal – Decadence Review

Sweden this, U.S.A. that. Its always the same countries churning out the metal that lands on the cluttered desk of Steel Druhm. Sure, every now and then a Middle Eastern or Asian act tosses a spiked glove in the ring, but it’s predomiantly Europe and the Americas tasked with carrying the metal standard these days. That’s why its such a treat when we get a promo from someplace new and exotic. Nothnegal clearly qualifies, since they hail from the tiny Maldive Islands, way out in the Indian Ocean (their location is actually listed as an atoll, which counts as mega-exotic). Decadence is their first full length and its all about modern melodic death with loads of keys, bells and whistles. They take the basic melo-death concept and mix in semi-industrial Fear Factory-like riffing, loads of electronic effects, keys and even synthesized guitars. The big mystery is how this remote isle act wrangled drum services from Kevin Talley (Six Feet Under, ex-Hate Eternal, ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) and keys by Marco Sneck (Poisonblack, ex-Kalmah, ex-Charon). Sounds interesting so far, right? Well, it may be interesting, but sadly, it ain’t too good. Despite the endless array of interesting keyboard noodling and effects, things never really work out and Decadence quickly sinks below the waves of mediocrity. This is a real shame, since there are some interesting ideas on hand and some talented folks involved. But, as the saying goes, no band is an island (sorry, island jokes are rough going).