I’m not going to lie, I listen to a lot of music. Specifically, metal. The enjoyment is pure, primal and sometimes ethereal. But listening to this much music has its ups as well as downs. Thankfully, there’s always something new to me, right around the corner. Toner Low is that ‘new’. Toner Low promotes a strong psychedelic stoner doom project, and the 2013 project ‘III’ steadies the rocking ship, and essentially fuzzes your brain out. It’s important to note that Toner Low’s ‘III’ sits well within the stereotypes of the genre. It’s four tracks all exceed the ten minute mark and give the album a complete running time of fifty-five minutes. While most would this this is quite lengthy, it matches the mood of Toner Low’s music and is completely acceptable in the genre. The real question is, “Is the length warranted?” Well, the answer is simply a yes. All four of these tracks have something new to offer the listener, using swarthy and fuzzy rhythms to carry the listener along. It’s not the same thing throughout, but the varying sections are subtle, rather than in your face. It works for this forward-thinking, concept pushing stoner doom group.
Toner Low’s ‘III’ is broken into chapters, each track is identifiable by a phase. The record continues the story with ‘Phase Six’, a bombastic fuzz onslaught driven home with some strong riffs. The static of the introduction is soon forgotten, as each riffs slam into the listener, there’s enough groove here to push a truck into gear. As a whole the album is warm, steady and always moving consistently forward. There’s no opportunity for the listener to get bogged down on one track and find themselves listening to dull, recycled riffs. The album pushes you along the fifty-five minute run-time feels natural, giving the listener all they need from the release without being conceited or over-bearing in nature.
Often mid-tempo, ‘III’ promotes every ounce of fuzz the band can put to record. In places, the album does get a little samey, but for the most part there’s always some feature to off-set that effect and contrast with the last. For those right into the genre, this is well worth your time in picking up. Largely, the album is instrumental but the addition of vocals would be lost in the mesmerizing display of groove and the ‘phase’ concept would be damaged if not lost completely. Regardless of the album’s length, this is an album you need some level of patience for. This isn’t a pop affair with catchy hooks and chorus lines, the depth in the music comes directly from the band’s instrumental progress, it builds atmosphere, crescendos than levels out. Overall, if you’re into the genre even a little bit, this is sure to make you smile.
1. Phase Six
2. Phase Seven
3. Phase Eight
4. Phase Nine