Album: Free Speech
Label: Lavadome Productions
Release Date: 17/11/2020
Country: Czech Republic
Written by James Sweetlove
Let’s kick off the day with something completely out of the ordinary in the form of !T.O.O.H.! ‘s fifth album Free Speech, which was released today on Lavadome Productions.
If you aren’t familiar with !T.O.O.H.!, the band hail from Prague, Czech Republic and play a very unique blend of death, grind, prog and experimental metal, with elements of electronica thrown in at intervals. The band’s name stands for The Obliteration of Humanity and as the band mentioned in an interview once, “The band’s name is too long, and it looks cool with those exclamation marks.”. As mentioned, this is the band’s fifth studio album, having been at this for a long time and they’ve really refined their sound over the years to be completely unique within itself. The release comes 15 years after their last studio album, so its been a longtime coming.
So, let’s talk about the band’s sound, something that isn’t easy to define. The band like to experiment and combine elements from all over the spectrum, throwing together grindcore and electronica, with random melodic death metal segments hitting the mix. Additionally, there are organ/keyboard segments alongside clean prog metal instrumentals. All of this is mixed with harsh death metal vocals, unique mid ranged harsh vocals that are highly understandable, clean vocals and spoken word segments, all of which is in Czech.
The album is made up of 12 tracks in total, however all of which come in between 1:50 and 3:50, making for a relatively short release. This isn’t surprising though with the band having those grind elements present throughout their music. It’s odd though, because a lot of the time with albums with such short tracks I feel like potential is lost to expand and explore in the song. However, with this release the band manage to work a crazy amount of variety and experimentation into such short pieces of music and it eclipses any concerns that I have about song durations.
As far as album highlights, for me I found the second half of the release stronger than the first and as such, my top tracks would be as follows:
Track 4 Kratochvíle pana M due to the sheer level of variety on the song, there’s everything thrown in here from gothic style organ music, interesting clean vocals. and harsh and technical segments.
Track 7 Roztřískám jim papule as it features some great segments and some real variety in its 3 minutes. There’s some fantastic guitar work on the song and some epic organ/keyboard-based segments.
Track 9 Pak jí ruce svážu due to the sheer aggression and raw energy, there’s a fantastic harshness to the vocals (which on this particular track the fact that its in Czech really adds extra effect). The song is simply relentless from start to finish, aside from a short melodic segment in the middle.
Track 10 Čarovné mlíčí features some absolutely filthy vocal work, like really dirty grindcore style. It’s definitely worth listening to for those vocals alone, but the instrumental work is also fantastic.
Overall, the album is an extremely solid, if not confusing release. I suggest going into this with no pre-formed expectations because whatever you think it’s going to be, it will be different, I guarantee it. So with that mindset prepare yourself for a completely unique listening experience and take some time to give this bad boy a spin.
Listen to the full album below:
Label’s Bandcamp (order CD versions here):