A vicious constriction of hope
Hailing from Long Island, New York, progressive heavy metal rockers Moon Tooth have released their third studio album: Phototroph, via Pure Noise Records. This heady and impetuous album will automatically satisfy metalheads alike. Members John Carbone (Singer), Nick Lee (guitar), Ray Marte (drums) and Vin Romanelli (bass) form a powerful alliance that slaughters preconceived projections.
The opening track “I Revere” starts with a carefully constructed guitar riff that thickens into an aggressive, virtuosic piece. This authentic and ruthless ear-pounding anthem preaches living loudly while subtracting contradictions and excuses.
“Back Burner” comes across as a story detailing the confrontation of inner demons and the struggle to keep them on a leash. It is a spirited track full of meaning and philosophical takes, and has a rockier vibe than the album’s opener. Lyrics such as “There’s no fooling that demon, that ambush predator, when the frost starts eating through your banner” highlight the theme of this track.
The track “The I That Never Dies” is almost holy in its reverence to self with hypnotizing guitar licks and tantalizing lyrics. This song is tactual in its execution of implementing the “me” factor, circling every other lyric to the fact it’s about oneself. Moon Tooth slays this hit with verses like “Meeting the me, that I was before I was me” and “It’s the angels in the geometry, intangible and ever about me.” Carbone shows listeners that he has mastered the art of lyricism and production and exemplifies this by implementing tidbits of unused sounds and broad lyrical statements.
“Alpha Howl” is an animalistic track, all puns intended. It has an undeviating guitar riff and echoing bassline, making for a heart-racing experience. It encompasses deprivation in its truest form while detailing exactly what a progressing emotional and spiritual death feels like. This track is righteously frustrated and does not shy away from this concept. The track is cleverly wrapped up with the repeated lyric “beast in my blood.”
“The Conduit” is about fresh rebellion and earning one’s keep, fair and square. Shunning all innuendos of being soft-spoken and quiet, this song is packed with unexpected mentions of the son of coal, Prometheus and the blood of a dragon. Within “The Conduit,” Moon Tooth paints a fiery, gold-crowned victory after a soak-fueled battle to the top as a ferocious and constant guitar riff acting as the rally cry for the battle march.
The album closed with title track ‘Phototroph.” Opening with a slower line, it provides the listener time to come down after a progressive-metal-fueled fever dream. Moon Tooth puts together a collaboration of such intricacy between the guitar, bass and drums that it leaves a moment of deliberate awe. It displays a true imagining and realization of the embrace of light and hope.
Moon Tooth’s Phototroph is an authentic fever dream. It is deliberate, aggressive, intentional and well-crafted. It could be labeled as metal, but it also includes a satisfying twist that incorporates other samples from the genre of rock. This album is gratifying with a rewarding edge.