Basically these four CDs, spread over two double albums, are Toehider's second release. Confusing? Let me explain. Toehider released their debut album To Hide Her in 2008 and after that the band, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michael Mills, guitarist Lachlan Barclay, bass player Amy Campbell and drummer Ricky Evensand, wanted to do something different so the next release consisted of twelve separate albums which were released on the twelfth of every following month. What I am holding now is the combination of twelve EP size albums gathered on The First Six and The Last Six.
As complicated as the idea was of releasing an EP every month, also difficult is to write about this monster release. The challenge lies in the variety of the songs. For instance, on the Metaltarsus part, the music is a combination of Helloween's power metal, thrash and old school heavy metal but all brought with a certain kind of humor and the band is not really taking themselves too seriously. Major influences I hear come from bands like Queen; not my favorite I am afraid, Neal Morse, in the ballad like songs, heavy rock guitar and singer songwriter music on Not Much A Man and many more. In the more alternative rock influenced songs the vocals have a slight Ron Thal (Bumblefoot) feel over them especially in the silly vocals.
In the song Toehider the progressive influences of Jethro Tull are combined with powerful guitars and a ton of vocals, but so easily, the mood changes into an acoustic ballad style atmosphere. In the In All Honesty section are some little diamonds; I Kill Me is a brilliant modern punky rock song with a catchy vocal part, but two songs later I lose my concentration in a not quite interesting piece of music. The title less part of The Last Six first CD is one of the least interesting; more silence than music, soft piano and slow keyboard soundscapes.
For me it is all a bit too much; Toehider doesn't really play progressive rock and the influences are much too diverse-even within a single song the mood swings several times back and forth. Musically, the members are very capable playing their instruments and the overall sound is very good. Personally I am charmed about the humor in the punky, alternative rock songs, but on the other hand I have heard several songs which don't amuse me and I wished I did not have to hear them.
Overall I guess, if the best songs that are spread over the four CDs were put on one single CD, this release would have been an interesting one, but my mind flows away from the music too many times, because some parts just bore me. But I do appreciate the happiness and humor in the music Toehider plays and a big thumbs up for the way the musicians master their instruments.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013