Home > Music > !T.O.O.H! – Order and Punishment (2005)

!T.O.O.H! – Order and Punishment (2005)

folderAlternatively, Řád a Trest for those of you who speak Czech, which always seemed like one of the weird Slavic languages, looking quantitatively different from Polish, Russian, etc.

Linguistic tribulations aside, !T.O.O.H! (which stands for “The Obliteration of Humanity”) is by this point known primarily for splattering melodic, prog rock flavored guitarwork  over what would otherwise probably be fairly standard death metal/grindcore. Compared to the previous album (Under the Reign of the Whip), Order and Punishment is more polished, less chaotic, more regimented, and even more melodic and consonant. It retains some of the mania of its predecessors, and amps up the fretwork further. This is not the most technical metal album I have heard by a long shot, but more importantly, it’s a lot closer to Augury than Brain Drill on the coherent, focused songwriting scale.

Besides guitars, the other major element in T.O.O.H’s sound is the vocalist (who prefers to be known by his body shape, which is that of a Humanoid). The aesthetic he goes for is best described as “crazed ranting”, due to its relatively clean tone, high pitch, and rapid velocity of syllables. Since I can’t speak Czech, I’m not entirely certain, but according to translations, the band seems to prefer depraved topics in their lyrics, with plenty of shock value and a hint of social commentary to liven things up. Despite the vocalist’s nickname, the band has apparently labeled these sounds as ‘animal’ in nature. Added to this are a few especially high shrieks, which are obviously good for variety. Either way, this guy is a pretty major hook for T.O.O.H’s approach on this album. Apparently, he’s been suffering some sort of debilitating illness lately that, along with various other factors has resulted in substantial changes in musical approach, but I digress.

While the melodic/consonant/shred flavor of the guitars comes across clearer on Honor and Punishment than any other T.O.O.H album, it’s not the entirety of their sound by any means. The obvious melodic passages are joined by a variety of more standard “technical” death metal/grindcore riffs. It’s worth noting that outside guitar solos (which of course are even more flowery and melodic), these riffs are monophonic in nature, generally leaving this album with a sparser aesthetic than a lot of “progressive” metal – more in line with its death-grind roots. The drums, while not as varied, still find the time to play effective patterns and provide a precise, regimented counterpart to the crazed vocals.

For a long time, this was the latest one could get from T.O.O.H (although their recent, dramatically restyled work on Democratic Solution changes that), and it certainly listens like a logical evolution from their previous works. Those who like the melodic, prog-influenced aspects of this album (read: me) will certainly find this album to their favor. However, one major weakness this album has compared to previous works by the band is that its song structures are simpler and repeated more often than before. Given that the songs are generally short and punchy, this rarely becomes a problem within a song, but it may diminish the long-term value of this work within one’s collection.

Highlights: “Al-Amin”, “Hanicka Pribeh Nebozacky”, “Rad a Trest”, “Ja Samaritan”

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