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Toothgrinder - Phantom Amour album review

New Jersey’s progressive metallers expand their palette

Cover art for Toothgrinder - Phantom Amour album

Having shattered expectations with 2015’s exemplary Nocturnal Masquerade, Toothgrinder have dramatically augmented their creative palette on this impossible-to-pigeonhole full-length. Its 13 tracks burst with taut aggression and expansive catharsis; from classic rock, to prog-metal and experimental defiance, Phantom Amour is a melting pot of the fresh and the feral. HVY’s opening salvo of dissonant riffing and anthemic vocals, the social commentary of Red that leads into simple yet hypnotic choruses and polyrhythmic leads and the Polaris-era Tesseract-meets-nu metal mix of the title track all bleed with genre-hopping beauty. The acerbic injections prove as engaging as the more emotional moments on the album, particularly when the primal roars of Adenium kick in, but Snow holds its own, too, with its strained cries and brooding melodic crescendos. If you enjoy music that’s entirely unpredictable, be prepared to get carried away.