Toska’s “Night I – Albid Gales” falls between the cracks of clearly definable metal subgenres — as more and more of today’s best metal does — but ostensibly it’s a black metal song. That’s what the overall style and the tremolo guitars would tell you, anyway, but those riffs are weirdly clean. The drums are wild, too — hyper-articulate and mechanized, a drum machine firing off machine gun fills. It works perfectly with the song, but you almost get the feeling that whoever was in charge of percussion sort of said “fuck it” and decided to just go nuts whenever possible. And then the vocals come in, which in their extremely distorted state sound like something that may have been ripped from a harsh noise track; meanwhile, the keyboard melody would be at home in a song by Lustre, the Swedish synthscape black metal band that writes songs built for daydreaming and stargazing.
It’s a weird mix, but damn is it awesome — a strange vision that’s slightly out of focus until it bulldozes you down with a crazy riff attack half way through the song that snaps you back to reality. Toska hail from Iceland, a hotbed of killer raw black metal these days, but Toska are doing something different. Instead of the fire that you hear in bands like Svartidauði, Misþyrming, and Naðra, Toska channel something else, something cold and a bit more proggy, playful and pensive all at once. Listen.
Toska’s self-titled debut is out 5/15 via Eihwaz Recordings.