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Boatman’s Toll – The Fat is in the Fire Award winner

Boatman’s Toll
The Fat is in the Fire
by James Brizuela at 08 August 2019, 5:14 AM

BOATMAN’S TOLL, a group out of Chicago, returns with a label re-release of their debut album “The Fat is in the Fire”. Originally released in 2017 independently, it is no surprise why Seeing Red Records has taken on the band to release a label version of the album. Right when the album kicked in with, “Slumber No More”, there was a pure evident feeling of listening to GOJIRA. Reminiscent of that same blend of death and sludge metal blasting together in perfect harmony. The vocal cadence carrying the melodious brutality of the music.  The music, to me, is leaning more on the death metal side of things. But what is most interesting for this album, is how there are very blues-like guitar solos happening. “Becoming the Flood” is one such instance of this. It has that very groove metal feel to it, but you get hit with some punishing riffs and blast beats as well.

BOATMAN’S TOLL can make you relax with their rhythm section, only to seamlessly punish you by bringing the heaviness directly behind it. It works so well together. Even in their slower tempos, the heaviness is laden within every track. “In the Falling Away” brings that pure heaviness, especially with the vocal cadence being extended. It honestly gave me the chills. What’s so impressive is the amount of sub genres that are found within their style. “Cat Food” offers some showcasing of a more thrashy type sound. What is impressive about this band is the fact that they blend so many sub genres together but produce such a cohesive sound. What I can also appreciate about the musicianship is the vocals and the rough style, but the enunciation in the lyrics as well.

What’s awesome about not only being to hear the entire originally released album, but this label version comes with a brand-new song, and a cover of Acid Bath’s “The Blue”. The brand-new song, entitled “Fossils” brings a drum cadence in the beginning that is coupled with some groove-like guitar work. This track leans heavily on the stoner metal type sound. I like the cleaner vocal intro. It just adds another element to the already impressive musical prowess of the band. Of course, the groovy/stoner side doesn’t last long as there is some punishing death-like instrumentation that hits. I love how this album seemingly keeps you guessing. You might be getting hit with some really mellow like rhythms, only to be beaten down by the brutality. Then to cap off the impressive album, is the dead-on accurate cover of “The Blue”, by Acid Bath. What a perfect cover for BOATMAN’S TOLL. They did an amazing job nailing the charm of the track.

Do you like stoner metal? Do you like sludge? Do you like death metal? “The Fat is in the Fire” is basically the perfect blend of all of that and more. You are going to want to hear this album. BOATMAN’S TOLL delivers heavily.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Slumber No More
2. Corporate Indentured Servitude
3. Becoming the Flood
4. In the Falling Away
5. Cat Food
6. Torn
7. The Children of Death Herself
8. Nothing Means Nothing
9. Recycle the Flesh
10. The Fat is in the Fire
11. Fossils
12. The Blue
Dave Kallas – Guitars, Vocals
Barry Kortaba – Vocals
Scott McClelland – Bass, Vocals
Phil Messina – Drums
Matt McClelland – Guitars
Record Label: Seeing Red Records


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