By Ryan Falla
New Jersey based quintet Toothgrinder looks to blow the world away with their second full-length release. ‘Phantom Amour’ is a wildly varied album that touches on elements of hardcore and melodic metal; there’s a variety that should keep fans from all over the metal spectrum engaged.
Before we dive into the variety of ‘Phantom Amour’, the meat of Toothgrinder’s sound has to be explored. Theirs is a very strong modern take on hardcore metal, a lot of swings in and out from their aggressive stance to sudden drops into softer melodies. This is a tonality that echoes throughout the entire record, and the variety of ‘Phantom Amour’ comes from exploring the transitions and grey areas of the mix of hardcore and melodic metal.
‘Phantom Amour’ is a very solid record, strong in many places with a few hiccups that seem to stem from a repetition of melodic dips that become slightly predictable as the album continues. There’s a big focus on the exploration of that dip from aggression to modern melodic structuring, occasionally it loses a bit of luster as you find yourself amongst dips similar to what you’ve heard before.
The opening track of ‘Phantom Amour’ speaks loudly for the record’s tone; ‘HVY’ pops into a subtly heavy (somewhat electronic sounding) intro that softens up pretty quickly. It’s a nice set-piece to open the album with before exploring their heavier side with ‘The Shadow’, which also has a strong melodic focus.
Much like The Hunter by Mastodon, this is a very commercial sounding metal record. Now, that’s not always a bad thing, it does create a sense of distinction when done well. Toothgrinder pulls off the mixture of modern commercially focused metal into their tones smoothly. There are no real outstanding issues with this album; although as much as Toothgrinder takes to exploration it feels as if they’re exploring the same few elements in similar tones throughout the record. There’s more than enough switching up between tones in ‘Phantom Amour’, but you might find yourself wondering if you’ve already heard a specific melody as you listen on.
Toothgrinder puts together a very solid record with Phantom Amour, it’s very easy to get into with very strong musical depth. This is very much a record to explore if you’re keen on expanding your perspective with modernly-focused metal.
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Record Label: Spinefarm
Release Date: November 10th 2017
01. HVY (3:36)
02. The Shadow (4:02)
03. Let It Ride (3:06)
04. Phantom Amour (4:17)
05. Red (3:14)
06. Adenium (3:21)
07. Jubilee (3:31)
08. Paris (4:30)
09. Pietà (3:18)
10. Snow (3:42)
11. Vagabond (3:23)
12. Futile (3:37)
13. Facing East From A Western Shore (4:47)
Total Duration: 48:24