One of the best things about writing for A&GS is getting access to up and coming acts before all my fellow metal nerds have heard of them, sometimes prior to their signing. It’s pretty goddamn sweet, to be honest. And that is the case with TOOTHGRINDER. The lads are from Asbury Park, NJ and I have been lucky enough to catch them a few times over the past year and change. I recently caught the quintet while they were on tour with PERIPHERY, THE CONTORTIONIST, and INTERVALS. In keeping with the status quo, the show was unadulterated insanity, exuberating pure energy, topped by their frontman’s tendency to climb walls and hang from scaffolding. In other words, should you get the chance, check out a live set.
Without trying to sound like too much of a brown-noser, I will assert that from the first time I caught their set, I knew big things were in store. That said, I was disappointed last summer when I found that they didn’t win a chance to sign with one label. However, better options were to follow, with the group recently signing to Spinefarm Records. And they will be releasing the egregiously intense Schizophrenic Jubilee EP on November 4.
For those who heard the first EP, Vibration/Color/Frequency, you’ll find this effort to be more focused. The songs are shorter in length and more direct with their punch, yet still retaining the sporadic movements and exquisite melodies that made their indie release so viable. For those who are listening for the first time, you will notice subtle influences of THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, EVERY TIME I DIE, and, believe it or not, the musical aspects of earlier songs by DANCE GAVIN DANCE. Of the five songs on the disc, not a second goes to waste, with each more delectably abstract than the next. TOOTHGRINDER have taken us to the crossroads at which heavy percussive riffs meet groove based romps, with enigmatic melodies and masterful drum work. Further, the production value is spot on; with the attention to vocals being a standout for my ears. Though screamed for the majority, the group’s frontman comes across very clear in the mix, providing the listener ample ability to understand and digest the colorful verbiage used in his lyrics.
In trying to sum up this review, I’ll admit, I’m finding it hard to express how much this needs to be your next purchase without seeming biased due to the band being somewhat local to my area. I assure you, if TOOTHGRINDER were from Finland like many of their Spinefarm cohorts; hell, if they were from anywhere on the map, I would still be issuing a solemn warning that you will be greatly mistaken if you don’t buy this disc. It is, surely, one of the strongest debuts I’ve seen from a band in some time, and, if it’s any indication where they’re going, you will want to be with these guys from the beginning. Schizophrenic Jubilee is a rip-roaring, throat-cutting, take no prisoners jaunt through a minefield of psychosis, developed into musical form and then released in five easily digestible tablets. This is the cure to the same boring record you’ve bought from other groups every two years and you need it. You’re welcome.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
WRITTEN BY FRENCH CHEESE