Toothgrinder was formed in 2010 by an ambitious set of musicians who wanted more originality in metal. Nocturnal Masquerade certainly lives up to this ideal and this album will challenge you as a listener to new levels of concentration, with its constantly changing sonic landscape; battering and serenading in equal measure. It takes several listens before the genius of the grooves is established, but it is worth the effort and it is a genuinely serious statement of intent from such a young band.
The band is made up of Wills Weller on drums, who founded Toothgrinder, along with Justin Matthews on vocals, Jason Goss on guitar and Matt Arensdorf on bass/vocals. Ex-guitarist Matt Mielke left the band after recording the album.
Opener “The House (That Fear Built)” shoots from the hip and mixes metalcore and all other genres between like you wouldn’t believe, ripping screams along the chainsaw chalkboard of this tune. Where it is inventive is with the gentle acoustic guitar backing, blending in with the fury of the vocals.
The album continues with “Lace & Anchor” and the aggression mixes with off-centre melody is powerful and frightening. My only criticism is that the lyrics are lost in the mix and, try as I might, I have been unable to get the lyrics, even from the band, which would have helped this review!
The interludes from the brutal onslaught are probably the most interesting parts of the record, with “I Lie In The Rain” and “Blue” being particularly effective as meaty metal anthems.
Other favourite songs include the towering “Nocturnal Masquerade” and the thoughtful “Diamonds For Gold“, the lyrics for which I did manage to find! I love the chorus for the latter song, which reminds me of Korn or Prong – two bands who have demonstrated their creativity and unique sound time and again.
Give the collection a listen and look out for Toothgrinder on their long tour with Killswitch Engage in March and onwards.