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Rotten Tide makes me want to take a shower. I don't mean that in the sense that "Well now that I'm covered in shit", but more "Holy hell that was dirty". I'm not sure if it's the rough production or the rock influence, but both aspects only enhance the quality of the music to be found here. This is an instance like Tiran where the dirt is also the main draw, although TOAD play something far detached from sleazy Motorhead worship.
Even though two of the tracks on Rotten Tide are pretty forgettable ("Pale Nimbus" and "Morning Disgust"), all five tracks are undeniably interesting in composition. For example, the opening track, "Midnight Hunger", starts off with a slow and haunting lead line that gives the impression that we're in store for some old school mid paced black metal (the heavily distorted screams help my assumption). It keeps along that same idea for about a minute and a half before smoothly shifting into a much more heavy metal influenced riff akin to Slough Feg's first album. Around two minutes into the track, we're greeted with a straight up USPM riff in the vein of Jag Panzer or Omen. All of this is smooth as well, it never once feels like a disjointed mishmash of styles. Each song flows extremely well, and it really helps add cohesiveness to the strangeness of the music. If I have any other complaint, it's that the percussion is fairly bland and the vocals are really monotonous in relation to how unique the music underneath them is. It isn't all bad, they certainly fit well with everything and even have a few standout moments (The "Let chaos reign!" chant in "Necrophatic Vatican" for example), so I suppose there's no real reason for them to change. There's also a distorted organ ala Deep Purple hidden somewhere in here but it's actually very hard to find. The simplicity of some aspects coupled with the creativity of others works fairly well and actually adds to the rock n' roll aspect.
Overall TOAD and Rotten Tide surely earn my recommendation. There are metallic aspects here in the aforementioned occasional riff and atmosphere, but the attitude of the band is actually a lot more rock n' roll than anything. "Embody the Ghost" is my main example for that, but it's hard for me to actually put into words. Just take a listen for yourself. Very interesting black/heavy/rock mixture.
Originally written for http://lairofthebastard.blogspot.com/