Written by Carcassbomb
- Post-Black Metal/Screamo
- Moscow, Russia
- November 29, 2019
2019 has been incredible and if you’ve been reading for a bit now then you’ve seen me become increasingly excited about metal. I was starting to think it may slump then I started getting some really good submissions from very talented bands. Death Metal, black metal and hardcore have been insane this year and so has sludge but until today I didn’t realise I was missing something that I fondly remember having in the past – A solid and true to form post hardcore album in the visage of bands like Boss-De-Nage or Birds In Row. Toluca offers an experience equally eloquent and abrasive from the lands of Russia with their new album Soras. Out November 29th via Tokyo Jupiter Records.
I often go to the vocals first, if only because vocalists are really upping their craft within these more experimental or modern genres. The black element of the music is honored considerably with a variety of accents and that modern black style of agonised howling akin to Mizmor. It weaves well into the complexity of the instrumentals. The hardcore or screamo side of things blend nicely in and out of it all bringing a surprising amount of melody for the style.
It doesn’t sound super off key as screamo often does, perhaps with the help of the russian accent and good song writing structure. I feel like the two styles were blended more than alternated and so it will be completely accessible to metalheads with reservations towards those older emo related genres. There’s a possibility you’re also not actually familiar with the alternative history of screamo and post hardcore – this is as sensible of a version as you can get.
Instrumentally it kicks off really strong with the opening track “Leraje” and has it’s shining moments elsewhere when it really matters. In terms of techniques and structures, it doesn’t deviate much from the post metal expectations. This won’t be a bad thing for most people, it’s perfectly suited to the genre of the album, it just presents a bit flat to me at times, particularly the more lengthy pummelings of tremolo picking. The melody is the high point for the guitar work at all times, their clean tone parts are sublime. Clearly they have varied and wide influences combined with able musicianship as they always charm me back by the end of the track. Everything is consistent and true.
The overall story telling of the sound is superb, it flows well and logically but most importantly presents bare emotion without bullshit bravado. The vocals really help in this aspect as they are the most flexible part of the music, making the experience a unique one in comparison to the status quo. There also isn’t the overproduced element of vocal perfection that seems to be all the emphasis lately. This music is strongly derivative from punk rock and there’s still a part of that sloppier ideology in Toluca, though certainly not out of incompetence but as a choice in presenting their raw energy. Some of the higher notes resemble something you’d hear out of Eugene from Oxbow before he violently jumps on the crowd.
The presentation and artfulness of the bands work is great from the album art to the logo. They’re a band that will tickle fancies you didn’t know you had, the alternative side of heavy music.