Nocturnal Masquerade It’s no surprise that the debut full-length from New Jersey outfit Toothgrinder is suffused with violence. The chaotic, polyrhythmic post-hardcore that they introduced on their Schizophrenic Jubilee EP is present in all its bloody, mind-flaying glory; what’s new is not the aggression, nor the visceral intensity, but how wonderfully it is configured and applied. The tone of Nocturnal Masquerade is surprisingly dark and gothic for something so technical, more black velvet than bloody knuckles. There is something carnivalesque about the churning guitars and frequent tempo changes, something somnambulant about how the moments of melody and atonality collide. This dreamlike quality is further enhanced by the way desires and ideas collide and twist together here, from the almost sexual urgency of “Lace & Anchor” to the combination of wallowing greed and emotional betrayal in “Diamonds for Gold.” If you’re simply looking for a gutsy, muscular piece of well- written post-hardcore, you won’t be disappointed, but there is so much more here for someone who wants to dig deeper.
IT’S NOT OFTEN YOU COME ACROSS A PIECE OF AGGRESSIVE POST-HARDCORE WITH A NIGHT MUSIC, CARNIVALESQUE VIBE LIKE THIS.
Drummer Wills Weller: When we write music we don’t have a game plan. This record is dark, it’s sad, it’s angry, it’s sexual, it’s furious, it’s a little bit of everything.
IT’S VERY INTERESTING THAT YOU CHOSE TO USE THE WORD “SEXUAL.” THERE’S DEFINITELY A SENSE OF URGENCY, ESPECIALLY IN THE SONG “DIAMONDS FOR GOLD.”
“Diamonds for Gold” is a great example, because you’re giving up something more precious for something a little less precious, maybe just for the time being. If you’ve cheated on somebody, you know that one second of gold is not worth the years of diamonds that you had, but for some reason, you take that leap. And no one talks about this stuff. Yeah, they might talk about their girlfriend, and breaking up, but sometimes they just come right out and say it, and that always doesn’t interest me. Maybe [the song] hits in a different way than if I was like, “Yeah, my girlfriend broke up with me.” NATALIE ZINA WALSCHOTS