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Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Spine Farm Records
Released: 01/29/2016


Nocturnal Masquerade

Progressive Metal

By: Scott Turney


Toothgrinder is a progressive metal band out of Asbury Park, New Jersey who is signed to Spinefarm Records. Nocturnal Masquerade is their debut album with the label after they released an EP titled ‘Schizophrenic Jubilee’ back in 2014. On Nocturnal Masquerade Toothgrinder seamlessly blends an onslaught of aggressive metal riffs with beautiful melodies. When combined, their music really captivates the listener. Toothgrinder not only plays aggressive music but their lyrics are real, releasing all the emotions held inside. All of these things and more are featured on Nocturnal Masquerade.

Nocturnal Masquerade starts off with ‘The House (That Fear Built)’ which wastes no time in informing the listener of the album’s overall tempo. Lead singer Justin Matthew’s screams the lyrics at a breakneck  pace ending with “Now welcome to the masquerade!” The song goes back and forth between crazy and sane just as if the listener was in an insane asylum. The next track on Nocturnal Masquerade is ‘Lace & Anchor which is catchier and more chorus driven. Near the end of the track Toothgrinder slows things down a bit, which concludes with an amazing guitar solo by guitarist Jason Goss. The forth song off of Nocturnal Masquerade is ‘I Lie In Rain’ which includes whispered vocals and it is the slowest song so far on the record. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the album needed a chance to breathe after an assault of hard hitting songs.

The fifth track ‘Blue’ brings back the intensity and the masterful contrast of harsh and clean vocals with slower grooves and fast riffs. Vocalist Justin Matthew continues to pour out visual lyrics such as “Bound naked and force fed by the government, familiarity rapes the sublime. The next song ‘The Hour Angle’ was actually featured on their EP and Toothgrinder decided to put in on the new album. The song fits perfectly on Nocturnal Masquerade. The eighth song on the album is ‘Diamonds For Gold’ which features Periphery’s lead singer Spencer Sotelo. Justin and Spencer’s voices unified vocals plus the overall tone of the track make this one of the better songs off the album.

Later on down the album is ‘Schizophrenic Jubilee’ which is very catchy in nature. The listener will no doubt be singing along when the band begins to repeatedly chant “Save yourself!” in the latter half of the song. Also during that chant is another guitar solo which adds to the greatness of the song. The final song off Nocturnal Masquerade is ‘Waltz of Madmen’. The track is slower than some of the previous songs, but the intensity is still sky high. The song is very emotional as Justin Matthews sings “You set my world on fire, by forgetting those you loved on the other side. At the end of the song the band all screams “WE ARE ONE!” as the album comes to a close.

Toothgrinder’s ‘Nocturnal Masquerade’ is an impressive album full of raw passion and high energy. Right from the first song the listener knows that they are hearing something special and they are not disappointed. All the songs flow perfectly with each other, even the songs that were from their EP. The sheer brilliance of music is exceptional, with songs like ‘Lace & Anchor’ and ‘Blue’ which really set the bar high for other bands of the genre. Nocturnal Masquerade by Toothgrinder no doubt gets 5 out of 5 stars for delivering a mind-blowing record that will no doubt stand the test of time.