It hasn't been 6 months since I did one of these shut up
Hey all! You ever have so much music you wanna talk about but instead don't talk about it to anyone? Well, maybe I'm just terrible.
Anywho, when I first had the idea to do some music recommendation journals I knew I wanted to showcase Toska. They're one of my favorite bands and still largely unknown. To be fair, they just released their first full length album last month (Fire By The Silos), and have two EP's (Ode To The Author and Ode To The Author Live), so it is understandable if you haven't heard of them.
Quick rundown: Toska is a 3 piece instrumental progressive metal band that officially started back in 2014, but the members have been in bands together prior to Toska (and even wrote an early version of the song Infantile in one of these bands). One of my favorite things about the band is their mixture of ambiance and heavy riffs, to go from open clean sounds to headbanging riffs. They aren't 100% aggression all the time, and they mix beauty and brutality in a seamless way. Each song also tells a story, taking you on a sonic journey.
But enough rambling, let's get to the 5 songs I've picked from Toska!
Chalk Teeth (0:00 in case link doesn't work properly)
Now this is how you start a metal album (or EP)! Some straight up heavy riffs to get the blood pumping. In all honesty I used to listen to the whole Ode To The Author EP while working out (like I work out anymore) because it got me pumped up. Like I mentioned earlier, they aren't 100% aggression at all times, and even this song is evidence of this, as it manages to pull it back for some of those beautiful ambient tones that then later lead to fast proggy riffs.
Illumo (14:14 in case link doesn't work properly)
My favorite song by Toska, it still gets me going. It hits that sweet spot for me, the not-so-guilty pleasure of songs that start slow and clean that slowly builds with power, eventually leading to this big crescendo, then backing off to finish off with ambient cleans. If I could only recommend one Toska song, it would be Illumo.
Quickly becoming one of my new favorites, Abomasum is a bit like Illumo in that it starts fairly slow and clean and builds with power in time. Being the second single from their latest release (Fire By The Silos), it definitely assured me that this album would be great like Ode To The Author, which I was a little bit scared I might over hype myself with (I didn't, the hype was worth it).
Oooh boy where do I start? First single from Fire By The Silos, epic set piece of the album that set the tone for what to expect, interesting and cool music video, the engine to the hype train really. After listening to the whole album through a bunch of times, Congress is still one of my favorites on the album, and it pairs well with the song prior to it which just so happens to be Abomasum.
Infantile (23:42 in case link doesn't work properly)
I mentioned earlier that Infantile was the first song written by Toska, well before they went by that name. Admittedly I forgot the name of their old band, but the members were once in a band with another member writing progressive metal together. The three wrote an early version of Infantile to be this epic instrumental progressive song for an album the band would have later released, except that album never came to be, lead singer left and the band "broke up" so to say. Rabea, Ben and Dave decided to start a new band focusing on instrumental music with Infantile setting the tone, but they shelved it for a few years as they weren't "in the right head space at the time" they said. After being in another band together called Dorje, they decided to start working on that old progressive metal stuff, formed Toska on the side and finalized Infantile. Ultimately I believe they accomplished what they initially set out for: An epic instrumental progressive song, and if Illumo didn't already steal my heart for Ode To The Author, then Infantile definitely would.
And that about wraps up this Ryan Recommends Music! I promise to make these more often (really this time I mean it). If you like what you heard above, check out Ode To The Author, Ode To The Author Live and Fire By The Silos. The Ode To The Author EPs are both uploaded in their entirety on Rabea Massaad's channel (or linked here for convenience).