Bizarrely named Long Island quartet Moon Tooth’s new record Phototroph (Pure Noise Records) is a wonderfully eclectic one that mixes many disparate influences into one cohesive, and thoroughly absorbing, whole. From prog, rock, NWOBHM, and grunge to name but a few, Phototroph is a sprawling, unique and engaging offering
‘I Revere’ starts things off, it is an enthrallingly big slice of metal, sporting an arena-sized riff and a hopeful and defiant sentiment in spite of the doom, gloom and despair. There is an energy and a sense of restlessness that runs through this record, with the visceral heft of ‘Deathwish Blues’ with its NWOBHM-like riff and lightning pace an apt example. The next track ‘The I That Never Dies’ changes the pace somewhat, with its grungy melancholia and thick, sludgy groove.
The hookiest number here is ‘The Conduit’, with its staccato rhythm, crunching chords and fuzzy guitars reminiscent of Royal Blood. These disparate elements are deftly woven together, as you go from fiery intensity and stomping beats to the heavy prog of ‘Alpha Howl’ with its propulsive percussion, VOLA-esque guitar and bass twang and the impressive pipes of frontman John Carbone. The variety, and the pleasingly heavy production of Josh Wilbur (Trivium, Lamb of God), means the album never gets dull – with the only exception being the slow and slightly pedestrian darkness of ‘Grip On The Ridge’.
This is only a minor lull before the grandstand finish of ‘Carry Me Home’ and the title track ‘Phototroph’. “You’ve got to open the door and let it inside” Carbone sings on ‘Carry Me Home’, a stomping hard rocker with an infectious sense of optimism and a glam metal solo. This leads to the blockbuster title track – an explosive ode to joy with an Andrew W.K. sense of euphoria culminating in a gloriously cheesy, almost power metal-esque solo from axeman Nick Lee.
A vast and varied metal album that grabs your attention from the off, its ambition and restless spirit cannot help but raise a smile.
9 / 10