TOAD Blends Fun and Horror With Endless Night
It's not often that a band's social media bio nails it, but Tempe metal band TOAD's is a rare exception. There's no hyperbole, no invoking the names of far-out influences to seem "cultured."
andrew-weiss.com TOAD: Take Over and Destroy
It's straight and honest: "An American rock 'n' roll band from the 1970s trapped inside of a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990s, scoring a John Carpenter film," the bio reads, compactly laying out the elements that make up TOAD's distinct sound. The band injects Blue Öyster Cult's A.O.R. high drama into Entombed's Swedish death metal template, with sludge and black metal elements adding color. And then there's that pervasive horror flick influence.
If the band's last EP, Rotten Tide, was a grainy slasher flick, the band's newly released Endless Night is something else. Think 1979's Alien reimagined as a pre-Comics Code Authority EC horror rag, or some alternate reality version of Jason X ("Friday the 13th in Space") as directed by giallo pioneer Dario Argento, swapping Sam Neill out for a dose of H.R. Giger's occult eroticism. It's cosmic; it's bludgeoning. It's very good, and it adds a heavy dose of spacey atmosphere to the band's revved boogie.
"Our comrade Bob Hoag, who engineered Endless Night, has a massive horror DVD collection," the band (Andrew "Chthon" Leemont, Alex Bank Rollins, Nate Garrett, Pete Porter, Trey Wilson, and Jason Tomaszewski) explains collectively via email. "We were in the studio around Halloween, so it made sense to have horror films playing on the studio TV. We ended up playing Argento films pretty much exclusively. The songs were already written before we entered the studio, however there were some scary atmospheric parts that crept in during the actual recording process. So perhaps the constant immersion in Argento's work was one of the causes of these parts materializing, who knows."
"Cosmophobia" demonstrates the band's nuanced approach. While no one would blame them for sticking to breakneck styles (seeing as they do it very well), the song is moody and tense, sporting sweeping keys from Porter. "Howling House" shows of the band's way with a riff, but its minor key lurch shows as much depth as the album's most atmospheric moments.