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Toundra – Hex Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 February 2022, 11:03 AM

Spanish Post-Rock outfit TOUNDRA released their eighth studio album, “Hex,” on January 14th, 2022. Like many bands all across the globe, 2020 forced a new and unexpected reality upon the Madrid natives, who found their touring plans cut short last year, and would begin shifting their focus towards recording new material under unusual circumstances. Frequently traveling between Madrid and the Cantabrian Coast in the last year, the band would grow to embrace these uncomfortable conditions, and ultimately use them as inspiration to make a record unlike anything previously found in their catalog. The album contains seven tracks.

The first track is divided into three parts. Movement one begins with clean guitar tones and some background ambiance. The distorted riff that follows is hardened but the melody line continues. Layers begin to be added…layers of darkness. The ground starts to shake under your feet. Suddenly, the clean guitars return, and a crescendo builds seguing into the second movement. The slate is clean once again, as it starts out with clean guitars and some drums. More layers are added and then it retreats again. It picks back up in an all-out spring towards the end, seguing into the third movement. Beginning slowly, something is coming alive in the background. That layering continues until a clean passage continues. The sound grows angrier until the end, when clean guitars wash away the darkness with a simple but elegant melody line.

“Ruinas” is a five-minute song, beginning with some bass guitar notes amidst the clean guitars. It picks up with speed and energy, developing this pretty melody line that the instruments build against, finishing on meatier tones. “La Larga Marcha,” or, “the long walk,” opens with thick bass notes and some lead guitar fills. The melody line here is neither dark nor light, both and either. The balance is striking. A powerful sound develops from there, complete with multiple instruments. “Watt” begins with a toned-down feeling. From there, experimental sounds are sprinkled within, giving the song a psychedelic feeling. The pace quickens and then drops again, ending on a sweet melody. “FINN” closes the album. This song is both charming and mysterious. Just when it feels like they will break out into an all-out melody, the tones are suppressed, keeping you questioning the direction of the song.

The beauty of this instrumental album is the ebb and flow of the instruments. Each song features a distinctive melody like, and the band adds and subtracts from the melody line with sophisticated layers and then peels them back like an onion, exposing the simplistic beauty of the melody once again. This is a masterful album by seasoned veterans who know how to weave darkness into melody, like a fat line of black clouds on a sunny day.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. El Odio Parte I
2. El Odio Parte II
3. El Odio Parte III
4. Ruinas
5. La Larga Marcha
6. Watt
7. FIN
Alberto Tocados – Bass, Synths
Álex Pérez – Drums, Piano
David López – Guitars, Synths
Esteban Girón – Guitars
Record Label: InsideOut Music


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