On the Radar: TOAD

Not to be confused with the Swiss heavy prog trio from the early ’70s, the Tempe, Arizona-based six-piece TOAD‘s moniker is meant as an acronym for Take Over and Destroy, and seems as well to be a statement of their methodology. Their debut EP, titled Rotten Tide, blends a variety of styles from bombastic hardcore metal to post-Mastodonic technicality, and — perhaps most curiously of all — a preference for analog recording that’s almost entirely absent from the larger scope of modern metal.

Rotten Tide sounds modern, and though parts of centerpiece “Embody the Ghost” speaks to some affection for retro doom in its horror spookiness, the song itself quickly moves away from that and TOAD are, on the whole, working within a different aesthetic. Vocals from Andy Leemont come in abrasive and layered shouts over the guitars of Nate Garrett (who seems to have replaced Dan Labarbiera) and Alex Bank Rollins, and are clearly metallic in their origin, and yet Pete Porter‘s mellotron seems to add a backwards-looking flair that’s not incongruous with what the band are doing only because they mix it so well into their own context.

And as for recording analog — aside from the snobby prestige of being able to say you did it, it doesn’t really do much for your sound if you’re making something as metal as Rotten Tide — but as it’s genuinely a more arduous process, it says something that TOAD did it anyway and, along with their use of “all vintage gear from the ’60s and ’70s,” it seems to speak to the same kind of genre-straying ideology that drives “Embody the Ghost.” They’re still very metal, and at times border on black ‘n’ roll, but the band — who are just starting out and whose lineup is rounded out by bassist Trey Edwin and drummer Shane Taylor — have potential to develop in any number of sonic directions.

If you’d like to find out for yourself, they’ve put all of Rotten Tide up for streaming on their Bandcamp page, and also have a split release available through Boue Records with Drone Throne, with whom they share Rollins and Leemont. They’re also on Thee Facebooks, if that’s your thing. Here’s the whole of Rotten Tide, courtesy of the former:

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