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Toska - Toska

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 November 2016, 8:01 AM

TOSKA is a Black Metal band from Iceland. The unnamed members of the band release their debut EP here, which contains seven tracks. Lyrically they take inspiration from a Polish poet known for “his apocalyptic vision and mystical awareness.” Musically, they have sounds of chaotic vocals, unrelenting drumming and melodic presence as well. “From The Starless Night” is a hauntingly beautiful brief opening instrumental, segueing into “Night I Algid Gates.” There is compositional prowess here and songwriting sophistication, as well as an adult oriented sound from the chord progressions. This is not your father’s generation of Black Metal, but a fresh take on this genre that lately has been very wide open in terms of boundaries. “Night II Throbbing Tumulus” is another unique track. The percussion has a lot of presence as you would expect, but the wildcard here are the vocals, which are hushed utterances, rather than high pitched shrieks. It certainly makes for a different listening experience.

“Night III Iced Specters” completes the mini-trilogy. The instrumentation is just downright bossy. There is a lead guitar riff that rings over top throughout the song as the background shifts here and there. “Spirits Of The Winter Moon” is all about the ambiance. Like the cover art, which depicts a winter forest where some of the trees have dies, it’s peaceful but bleak at the same time. It’s also a perfect break so to speak. “Night IV The Howling Decent,” is literally just that, a decent into darkness and fire that awaits you below the depths of the earth. You can feel the absolute coldness of the accompanying winds that whistle around your ears, like being caught in a storm with no hope of getting out.

“Night V Blizzard Tales” closes the album with a furious note, assuring your death due to the elements. The marching rhythm of the riff is very ominous. I really love the imagery that is invoked from the combination of the song titles and the ensuing sounds or the track, and this is often something that is missing. If gives the EP a connectedness that makes it easy to enjoy. Not that Black Metal is supposed to be fun by any means, but still, you want your music to be something that gives you pleasure, despite the genre or whether it registers as upbeat or dreary. This is a solid debut EP from a band that has forged their own path in the woods, and invites you to join in the journey of what lies ahead in the cold, grey skies.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. From The Starless Night
2. Night I Algid Gales
3. Night II Throbbing Tumulus
4. Night III Iced Specters
5. Sprits Of The Winter Moon
6. Night IV The Howling Decent
7. Night V Blizzard Tales
Record Label: Eihwaz Recordings


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