TOC - Loss Angeles

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 164
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:10:00

Some bands see it as a compliment when they are compared to another band, while others are not so happy with it. The debut album of the Finnish band TOC (formerly known as Throne of Chaos), was "keyboard driven old school black metal" and thus they were dubbed "Children of Bodom's kid brother." So, TOC changed its direction with their third album. The result was called Loss Angeles and is more in the direction of progressive metal, but since the band added so many other ingredients, it's hard to say what style it is. One thing it definitely is not: boring!!

Many progressive rock bands are sometimes accused of being stuck in the same kind of songs over and over again. If TOC will continue the line on Loss Angeles in their future albums, they will never face that accusation. They keep a pretty up-tempo pace on their album, as opening track "The Window" feels like you are stepping into a (fast) moving train. Smooth guitar riffs and the clean vocals, give it an almost poppy sound, which would most likely do quite well when played on the radio. The song gives you the feel of a pleasant sounding rock album. The ballad "Mary Lou Is Dead" does nothing to change that idea, it maybe even enhances it. A nice song, but the vocals do not entirely convince me. With "Acid Highway" the speed goes up again, with sharp guitar riffs, this is one of the best songs on the album, but here we are in for a surprise, as vocalist Tuomas Nieminen turns out to be a first class grunter as well as a great vocalist! The guitar parts and solos are amazing.

TOC throws in just about all the metal influences around and mix it to create their own sound. "Gothamburg" shows hints of Porcupine Tree in both the music and the vocals, with some psychedelic guitar solos, which are actually very good. "Blue Lady" drips with passion and gives bassist Rasmus Nora some more room to show his play. One of my favourite songs on the album. The short instrumental "The Blue Lady Suite"; "Break-A-Neck" is closer to death metal than anything else: brutal grunts, fast double bass and aggressive, fast riffing. It stands out a bit among the other songs, as "Bite The Bullet" is again more in the vein of Porcupine Tree, with soft, clean vocals, culminating in a power ballad.

The official last track is one they shouldn't have done. A cover of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water," TOC style, which means: fast guitars, even faster double bass, grunts. I prefer the songs they wrote themselves, as these songs are surprisingly good. But the bonus track "Nightcrawler" makes me ending this album with a nice taste in my ... ears, because this brings back the level of the other songs.

Loss Angeles is an unexpected surprise, with a high originality level and I can only hope TOC will continue along this line, as then we are guaranteed to enjoy the progressive work of this Finnish band, who have truly proven to be progressive band. Nice career move to change their style of music, as no doubt they will only gain fans. Try this one and be prepared for a roller coaster ride along the Acid Highway!

Released in North America by InsideOut Music America (IOMA 2078)

[This review originally appeared May 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
The Window / Mary Lou Is Dead / Acid Highway / Gothamburg / Blue Lady / Wait / The Blue Lady Suite / Break A Neck / Bite The Bullet / Smoke On The Water / Night Crawler

Tuomas Nieminen - vocals
Taneli Kiljunen - guitar
Joiku Harmaja - guitar
Rasmus Nora - bass
Carl Sjöblom - keyboards
Snake Laitinen - drums

Menace And Prayer (2000)
Pervertigo (2002)
Loss Angeles (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FI

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Hits: 1132
Language: english


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