Review: “Dream of Ascension” by Tooth And Claw

While the Global Pandemic has lead to the absence of live shows, it has also given us a rise in projects that might not have otherwise seen the light of day and one of those is Tooth and Claw, an outfit that sees Scott Crouse (Earth Crisis, Sect), Daniel Austin (Die Young), James Chang (Undying, Catharsis, Sect), and Cameron Joplin (Magnitude) combine to explore new realms of aggression with a mix of Metallic Hardcore and Death Metal, it could have remained simply a pipe dream with their day jobs meaning a lack of time for it. So what happens when great forces unite? It can be a double edged sword, either a tectonic plate shifting cataclysmic event of epic proportions or perhaps something less than the sum of their parts…

Accompanied by an illustration from Jeremy Hush that captures the sinister nature of the record, Tooth and Claw seem to take inspiration from the likes of Integrity in cutting a path between the Worlds of Metallic Hardcore and Death Metal, combining bludgeoning attacks with nauseating sinister melodies (“Your Crucifixion“) and striking an uneasy balance between those aggressive tendencies and the more psychological moments. Listening to the record is like watching the best of horror films; it’s not an all out gore fest, instead leaving plenty of edgy “will they, won’t they” moments that play with your mind like a kitten pawing at a spider (“Seventy Times Seven“). The result also has some Art Metal leanings; the spoken word ending of “Time’s Desire” as powerful as the spoken word opening of “Punishment” by Biohazard; they’re both cut from the same cloth, stained with the same blood, sweat and tears.

The abrasive guitars and bludgeoning vocals are the bands main weapons of choice but they have well placed some other incendiary moments of darkness, like the icy piano of “Ravage” only serve to enhance their reputation and bring a reign of new darkness. As an album “Dream of Ascension” has a timeless quality; it sounds like an early 90’s record but with all of the modern production value of the here and now; it sounds fresh despite the age and history of the line up which doesn’t see possible on paper but remains true after multiple listens. The churning, menacing and brooding nature of the “Spiritual Lust” combined with a tight lead that serves to build a bridge to other dark worlds is a particular highlight of this work although in truth there is no weak point here. You might need to be of a certain age to fully understand the death anxiety of “Kiss of Night” but the snakes venom is just as poisonous today as it was when these musicians first started out. Those fires are still burning, the rage within is still alight and Tooth and Claw have plenty of bite to their vicious bark. Death is just the beginning [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Dream of Ascension
  2. Your Crucifixion
  3. Time’s Desire
  4. Seventy Times Seven
  5. Kiss of Night
  6. Arrival
  7. Torn in Half
  8. Spiritual Lust
  9. Ravage

Dream of Ascension” by Tooth And Claw is out 21st May 2021 via

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