Toadeater – Bit To Ewigen Daogen Review

I see you sitting there, sipping coffee all judgmentally or taking a condescending dump on your break. You’re expecting the ol’ standby, but you ain’t gonna get it. You’re expecting me to call out that name Toadeater. Trust me, I know, it’s like a Princess and the Frog situation gone horribly wrong. But if you think I’m gonna rant, you’re wrong, buckaroo. Metal band names may be the first line of defense to size up the fortitude of your next blackened opponent, but I have the upper hand here. A quick Google search can tell you that, no, Toadeater is no anurophagy shit,1 but rather an archaic phrase for, ahem, a “fawning obsequious parasite.”2 So will Toadeater impress you or will it just suck the life out of you?

Toadeater is a post-black trio from Germany, formed in 2018. Bit To Ewigen Daogen is their fourth release and second full-length after last year’s Codex. Post-black is obvious in groups like Deafheaven and Altar of Plagues with their respective twinkly plucking or dynamic songwriting. But it’s a tad more difficult to pin down with Toadeater, as semi-raw tremolo, vocal variety in shouts, shrieks, and chants, and marching blastbeats paint them in the riffier interpretations of Au-Dessus or Bosse-de-Nage, or as a more twinkly version of their countrymen man Horn. However, just because it’s difficult to peg as “post-black” doesn’t mean it’s worth your time.

The best of Bit To Ewigen Daogen is defined by moments, which, strung together, allow the movement of its eight- to nine-minute runtimes to feel feasible. Honestly, Toadeater doesn’t do anything particularly wrong in this right, as their songwriting chops are honed enough to allow organic quality. Individually, “Conquering the Throne” features clean Horn-like chanting vocals, a catchy semi-dissonant riff, and a passage of wonky plucking melody alongside synth ambiance. “Crows and Sparrows” features the most furious passages of the bunch, relying on scorching tremolo and marching blastbeats, while its ominous clean chanting work well with its crushing dissonant riffs. “Returning the Crown” features a tasteful bass spotlight and tremolo that morphs from ominous to melodic across its nine minutes, while closer “Too Close to the Sun” features some nice Summoning-esque epic passages with clean vocals and beautiful layers of melodic plucking. As a whole, other than its moments, Bit To Ewigen Daogen is a pleasant listen with just enough post-black to add texture, and enough crunch to balance the melodic.

Appropriately, Bit To Ewigen Daogen can be summed up as “good enough.” Toadeater, in spite of not doing anything wrong, don’t do anything particularly interesting either: no song stands as the highlight and the tone can’t decide between menacing or melodic. Nice riffs and effective post- passages are small potatoes compared to the stew of filler that saturates much of the album’s runtime, relying on bland riffs that touch on rawness but have difficulty committing. While “Conquering the Throne,” for instance, features a memorable riff and “Crows and Sparrows” features an ominous closing passage, these are short-lived amid nine-ish minutes of pleasant hum. Not to say that Bit To Ewigen Daogen is a bad listen, but it’s just pleasant “meh”-ness. It feels like black metal, and if you need a safe black metal album with some melody and post- influence whose reach doesn’t exceed its grasp, this is the release for you. Tracks like “Returning the Crown” and “Too Close to the Sun,” in spite of being solid, do feel like they drag their passages on for too long to meet the “full-length” requirements and intro “…Before the Desecrated Sanctuary” does little to set the mood, but ultimately, absolutely nothing is unpleasant to listen to.

“Pleasant hum” is a great way to describe Bit To Ewigen Daogen. Toadeater offers semi-melodic, semi-dissonant semi-raw, semi-post-black metal that doesn’t commit, whose in-between interpretations can be seen as either refreshingly simple and restrained or bland and aimless. It’s a Horn-y pagan(ish) meets post-black metal album that, in spite of its competence in songwriting and refusal to fall into Deafheaven worship, just feels “good enough.” With its nice riffs and subtle inclusions of melody, it has the makings of a solid album, but needs to trim the excess to make the impact Toadeater is capable of. It neither sucks the life out of me nor impresses me, and that’s just fine, I guess.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Revolvermann Records
Releases Worldwide: October 2nd, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Well, well, well, if it isn’t another Google search.
  2. Oh and look! Another Google search.
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