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Toxic Smile - Farewell CD (album) cover


Toxic Smile


Progressive Metal

3.94 | 62 ratings

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4 stars Friend, if you liked Echolyn's Mei you owe it to yourself to check this out!

Yeah, yeah, yeah -- DT has a new release. So, when you require an intermission from that daunting listening task, here is a brief palate cleanser. Toxic Smile's Farewell is a one song album, comparable to Echolyn's Mei in style and format. This is exceptional prog rock with a quagmire of dynamics, attention to fine instrumentation and exploration of various musical genres. Balls-out rock: check! Ethereal space: check! Some funky breakdowns: check! An on-point jazz breakdown with sax (not half-assed, faux jazz either, mind you): check! Symphonic moments: check! Heavy, crunchy moments of metal: yeah, baby, check! It's all there and it ties together cohesively. They made it work and that's the rub -- most bands will fail to tie it all together convincingly. In that regard it's an entertaining, hail-mary-for-the-touchdown, neo-prog win!

The production on Farewell is really good, a harmonious balance of instruments and it captures all the nuances of dynamics. The drumming is a creative force, propelling the music and I much preferred this updated drum sound on Farewell over the previous 7 (which was good, but these drums are a little thicker with a fatter snare that sits nicely in the mix). Larry has a strong, vintage appeal in his voice -- a raw, gruffier version of Big Big Train's David Longdon, and the lyrics will not cause you to grab an epipen if you find yourself allegric to nafaryus cheese. I always like the inclusion of Marek Arnold's melodic sax sparingly in their music. Their song Love Without Creation (on their album 7) was a prime example of this and the magic has been peppered tastefully into this album. There's a fine balance betwixt all the instruments on the album, where each has a voice and fits nicely into place.

Also, this is a welcomed duration for a CD. Farewell reminds me I can't do 75+ minutes of listening to one album anymore. It's tiring and audibly indigestible after 60 minutes. Get our attention, say what you have to say and move on. 75 minutes becomes a sonic babble and begins wasting time (make two CDs and release them a year apart -- that's smarter marketing!) So at 42 minutes, I thoroughly enjoyed that no moment on Farewell was wasted on filler. It's ever engaging.

That's lot of written praise for Toxic Smile, but not all is kitten whiskers and rainbow unicorns. Some may quip over a minor WTF? The band name. One may question if all the good band names, like URLs, are all taken? Seriously, the band name does nothing to describe the character or charm of the contents within. Dream Into Being. Beyond Wonderland. The Bone Clock. Fall Among Stars. Orion's Muse. This is average, off-the-top-of-my-head brain excrement that conjures up imagery more germain to the contents therein. Subjective, I know, but Toxic Smile for some reason does not sit well on the brain, nor in the future, will it be found on the tip of the tongue when recalling. A minor qualm, however, best reserved for late night discussions with like-minded friends over mint mojitos, perhaps.

If you find yourself overjoyed with this band, do check out their previous releases, they are very fine additions for any prog collector. If you start here, continue on with 7, their previous album. I was sorry to read that this current album title was in reference to the fact that the bands co-founding guitarist Uwe was parting with the band.

Toxic Smile has always produced strong work through the years. In fact, the only thing astonishing, as of late, should be why Toxic Smile hasn't garnered a wider mass audience.

Wishful, live concert pairing: Echolyn, Sylvan with t opening, perhaps?

buddyblueyes | 4/5 |


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