Tolchock – “Elements of Rage” album review


Another Swedish band on my menu. This time Tolchock with their Elements of Rage album released in March 2015. It is a great pleasure to hear that not only synth pop “grows” in Sweden. This is a completely different music experience. Their Elements of Rage is a more powerful electronic sound, that is based on EBM music, but with more dance feeling to it. It is indeed very catchy, melodic and with a solid beat, completed by guitars riffs and surprisingly both male and female vocals. The male vocal is very EBMish, while the female one creates more melodic lines. They successfully blended in a lot of their influences to create something new and quite likeable. As I am reading what the band cited as their influences, I must agree that I can find some bits and pieces of their influential artists in their music making, but again a perfect mix and balance is achieved not to sound exactly as anything they named. I like the power, the force, the pinches of Dance or Die, Front 242, KMFDM and some others they named and almost everything on their “influences” list are the names I love and respect much myself.

Their opening track “Time to Breathe” is one of such influences mix, a very danceable track that brings a bit of nostalgia for Dance or Die’s “Psychoburbia”. “Selfextractor” is a harsher track, but this time I would say I can hear a bit of KMFDM influence. It’s a bit more old school ebm, less melodic and more beat oriented, and I especially like the male vocals on this one, as I feel a female one is just here as a support this time. The third track “Firecell” wins me at the very start, as I just love a dark feel of it mixed with their raw power. Again this time, they made sure that they make a statement with the chorus, but I still enjoy the synthetic flow outside the refrain, as if it can even live without it.

tolchockThey decide to slow it down a bit on “Made to Break” but quickly bounce back on “Down in the Hole”. Here they seem to experiment more with the rhythm and electronic influences other than ebm, but still, keeping it very minimalistic, until the refrain were they develop the melody you would not expect after the minimalistic ebm introduction. The female vocals take lead followed by the synth melody. “Walk of Shame” is like a pop song to this album; melodic right from the start, but even though it sounds really optimistic, the lyrics are not quite so! They combine the syths with some guitar riffs here very nicely, and if something can remind me of Matt Johnson they mentioned as the influence is their brave attitude in lyrics and sometimes in the way they are sung. “Day of Rage” is again more of the dance material, but they offer some slower tempo on the next one “Your face – name – brand” that I think is my favourite, being more layered, diverse and more complex than the rest of the material, showing what this band can offer in their music making. This song may not fit well to the dancefloor but you can surely enjoy it in your armchair.
The album presents four remixes, each one giving a new dimension to their “Time to Breathe”, “Down in the Hole” and “Selfextractor”. Thumbs up for the Machinista remix.

Enjoy the video for “Down in the Hole!