Death, doom and horror collide under the blackened thumb of Arizona’s Take Over And Destroy, who’s new self-titled LP takes a stab (no pun intended) at the cinematic flavor of classic fright film soundtracks. But TOAD is no strictly synthwave outfit (though there is some of that here) à la Zombi or SURVIVE, as the varied, disparate but altogether excellent vocal work here tells the boldest story, reverent of legendary hard rockin’ Italian shock maestros Goblin. The initial impression of TOAD may call to mind Tribulation’s infectious melding of black metal and death rock, but when the Type O Negative-esque heavy goth flavor of “Let Me Grieve” kicks in, you’re initially thrown off of your guard for a minute before settling into Take Over And Destroy’s anything (well, anything scary and weird) goes oeuvre. It only took me a few more tracks to be completely won over.
The epic “Out of Frame” probably melds everything TOAD have to offer in the best in a single track, synths rising up as a vaguely menacing narrator taunts the listener. The new wave-y creepiness transforms into a full on head banging early black metal jam by the mid-point, Take Over And Destroy giving us the back alley meeting of Kraftwerk and Venom we never knew we needed. The jangly, Smiths-ian “Love Among The Ruins” eventually descends into an absolutely crushing doom outro, almost punishing the listener for thinking they were “out of the woods”, so to speak. Hardcore blastbeats and a finger twisting punk bassline signal “Red Ink”, and the one two punch of “Bring Me The Rope” and “Night Work Begins” wrap things up in a perfectly tragic and operatic fashion, Take Over And Destroy’s filmic bonafides once again laid completely bare. I don’t think I’ll be the only one dying for a sequel.
Listening to “Take Over And Destroy” gives you the feeling that the only thing these guys won’t do is limit themselves or say no to any possible ingredient in their widescreen death rock stew, giving them an edge over fellow retro doomsters like Ghost and Uncle Acid, that I admittedly love, but that can seem creatively handcuffed to their formula at times. Even though it would be totally awesome, you’d never hear Ghost thrash into a hardcore breakdown, or delve deep into full on Joy Division worship like this. TOAD throw any preconceived notions or formulae out the window, making this record genre defying in a completely fearless and unique way than what has become the contemporary norm. Highly recommended.