Review: Moon Tooth – CRUX

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The three years between Chromaparagon and Crux seemed like an eternity. Moon Tooth‘s tour schedule was relentless for the years between and I had a suspicion that the grind they put in was going to pay off when they got around to recording again. Did it?

Yes.

I need to work on my suspense.

While Chroma was a monumental metal-adjacent album for me in 2016, there were a few tracks that I enjoyed but seem to take some focus away from an already chaotic collection of arrangements. At the core of it all, there was an identifiable Moon Toothiness that I began to crave: a base of frantic melody, solid heaps of slippery vocals, and of course heavily spiced with earworm hooks and choruses. Crux is a fresh batch of the Tooth that focuses on these things without any unnecessary flares.

The album kicks off with the first single “Trust” which burns from front to back like a raw habanero to my digestive system. This track just hints at how nearly impossible it is to overstate the guitar performance on Crux. Nick Lee never stops doing things that I’ve never heard before, and while that alone would have put this album over the top, the rest of the band easily keeps up with the creative pace. John Carbone’s lyrics and unleashed performance are dripping in authentic emotive quality. His anger is infectious. His anxiety and hope, chilling. Looking for “Woah, that was a cool bass section” or “that fill was insane” moments is like playing a Where’s Waldo but every character is Waldo.

The pre-production from Machine and LoG’s Mark Morton and the post from their own drummer could not be more perfect for their style. The four pieces all seem to be front-and-center at the same time and yet nothing gets muddled. The depth of each track begs for second, third, or fourth listens in order to really hear everything. “What The Hell Was That?!” is a phrase that I can’t stop repeating while listening.

The opening of “Rhythm and Roar” is a perfect example of how they pay homage to their obvious love of rockers of old (especially Hendrix) without becoming Greta Van Fleet. The riff is a creative take on something old, but then importantly, the song moves on and becomes something entirely of themselves. Then for something completely different, “Thumb Spike” is made up of an unhinged thrash riff but constantly juts out into unfamiliar places. And just when you thought you’ve heard everything, “Crux” starts off as a ballad and turns into the heaviest thing they’ve ever done. There is so much variety here and it still manages to feel incredibly cohesive because every moment is covered in layers of the band’s rock-solid identity.

This band is pouring everything they have into making a name for themselves and it shows on Crux. There’s not a single thing I dislike about these 43 minutes and I can’t stop listening to it.

5 Out ov 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

Crux is out this Friday. Pick it up here, you won’t regret it.

 

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