Release: 16 September 2023
Toter Fisch, German for “Dead Fish” is a five-member folk / death metal band out of France. I was excited to give this a listen based on the epic band logo and great album art alone, and I found out quickly: however you’re choosing to listen to this album, make sure it can accommodate lots of bass and output at the low end of the mix. It sounds pretty great regardless, but playing this on the practice amp for example diminishes the magic.
And what magic there is! Toter Fisch trods the familiar path of metal band plus a folk instrument, in this case an accordion. Also present are synths and special effects, there’s a lot of production value. The twist is using death metal instead of regular ol’ power metal. There’s melody, so it’s not straight, non-quantized extreme death, nor is it the ambient, atmospheric melo-death, but it’s melodic and death metal, and, I can’t stress this enough, extremely well executed. This is an absolute delight to listen to.
The only fault in the album is a trait common in the genre: all the songs blend together and it takes repeated listening to pull out the nuances. “Memories” is a slower song, “Awakening” has a little cabaret-style, and “Abyssal Beast” has some cinematic elements. They’re the sort of garnishes of the sonic salad. The delicious meat comes from the three stars of the album: “Petwo’s Call” has some great howling, deep and creepy jungle sounds, a bouncy beginning and end, and so many parts that it’s a little album in itself. “The Island”, which was released as a single, has some great rhythmic punching and a catchy accordion riff. Lastly, “The Bow” has a unique character. It’s somber and minor key, like “Memories”, without being slow. It also has clean vocals– a rarity on this album.
It closes on an instrumental “Neverending”, which has some wailing guitars and lush island effects. What a great album! This comes highly recommended!
- The Tongue, the Saber
- Petwo’s Call
- The Island
- Abyssal Beast
- The Bow
- Blessed & Chained