The Porcelain Throne: Toundra

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While the Throne is usually reserved for older or defunct bands, I found that Lacertilian’s article on Toundra is good enough to occupy any throne. In fact, I think I found my new favorite instrumental band thanks to this submission.

The Throne is thriving thanks to you guys, keep sending in your articles, and remember to use The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines if you need some help getting started. Without further adieu, here is Lacertilian:

Toilet dwellers, it’s your resident reptilian here. After hearing the call for submissions to the Porcelain Throne, I decided to give a bit of a background on the band Toundra. For those that do not already know of this band, they are based in Madrid, Spain. Toundra formed from a combination of two previous bands, of which I know little about, as I am not too familiar with the Spanish rock/metal scene. I first heard about them on a YouTube comment section recommendation. Yes, I do sometimes submit myself to the painful depths of comments sections on videos. This is something I am trying to remedy. Although, without this particular recommendation, I would have most likely never given this band a chance.

I hesitate to lump Toundra into a specific genre, as they offer qualities and styles found across several rock, metal, and other associated genres. One thing I can say is that the quartet is almost completely instrumental, amidst the common calls for them to utilize a vocalist, to which they (thankfully) resist. While the comparisons to other notable contemporary instrumental bands such as Russian Circles and If These Trees Could Talk are useful for garnering a starting point, they do not really offer a true perspective of the character and energy that Toundra encompass.

(I) (2009)

If you want a good starting point to dive into their short but memorable discography, Toundra’s first release is it. Everything that they became musically and stylistically can be found here. From the melodic buildings found in the intro track “Bajamar” and later “Jauria”, to the writhing beasts “Medusa” and “Genesis”, and finally to the clean and soothing “Pleamar” and “Tesalia”, Toundra exhibit great skill in utilizing dynamics throughout the individual tracks and throughout the entire album. The gentle lapping of waves on the track “Pleamar” is analogous to the way in which the album ebbs and flows, keeping the listener engaged spatially and temporally.


(II) (2010)

If you enjoyed the first album, then (II) will most likely keep you thoroughly entertained. The album commences in a similar form to (I), with some nice clean guitars building to form a solid core from which the record flourishes. The guitar tones offered throughout are especially pleasing to my ear and showcase the guitarists’ talent at playing both clean and distorted riffs. The use of effects and slight touches of natural harmonics, while sporadic, are great examples of this skill.

Let’s talk about the tracks themselves. The epic 10+ minute “Magreb” will take you on a journey within itself. Around the 6 or 7 minute mark, the guitars strip back to reveal a tight bass & drum partnership, which maintains the punchy aspect of the track without losing any flair. I would also like you to draw your attention to the percussion. Throughout all their albums, Toundra’s drummer manages to draw influence from many sources without ever sounding derivative, even managing to pull off that percussive tribal sound that so many bands have attempted, with varying degrees of success (think Tool’s “Reflection”).

The ending riffs on “Zanzibar”, and also on “Danubio”, show Toundra at their most aggressive, with the latter being a culmination of 7 minutes of glorious melodic sinuosity. This band knows when to unleash upon the listener, after lulling them into a state of harmonic mesmerisation, without it ever seeming jarring.

 


(III) (2012)

Finally, Toundra’s third album (you guessed it) (III) is what I would consider their most epic release to date. From the addition of string elements on the album opener “Ara Caeli” and the beautiful “Requiem”, to the atmospheric inclusions on “Cielo Negro”, Toundra are pushing themselves to further engage the listener with dynamic augmentation. This aspect is one of the main factors that separate Toundra from their peers. Where their contemporaries seem satisfied with entrenchment in post-metal/rock and textural minimalism, Toundra seem to express a desire to allow influence to flow through them. This album is a testament to that.

I highly recommend heading over to their bandcamp page and spending time listening to an entire album to get a proper feel for their style, which simply cannot be totally grasped in one track. With a new album released early this year (see the track at the end of this article), this is a great time for fans of progressive instrumental music to give Toundra a chance, because if you enjoy this style of music, that’s all they’ll need to get your attention.

YLiF here, this was written right around the time of the new album release on January 26th, but if you dig it as much as I do, you can find (IV) at Superball Music, or on Spotify!

I want to thank Lacertilian for this excellent recommendation and article. I know you people out there are hiding other amazing bands from the Toilet ov Hell. Hit the keyboards and send your Porcelain Throne submissions to tohthrone@gmail.com.

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  • VVayne Brady

    Great job on your first deuce in the bowl, reptile.

    • Scrimm

      Yes it was. Is everyone gonna write stuff BUT me?

      • VVayne Brady

        I welcome another collaboration with the Tall Man.

        • Scrimm

          Oh crap, I forgot all about that! Someday we will have to do it again, although between the job hunt, finishing up the lyrics for our recording and editing my fiction my brain is pretty fried at the moment. Out of ideas 🙁

          • VVayne Brady

            I feel that. I haven’t been writing as much on here because my dissertation is eating my soul.

          • Scrimm

            I bet I have a friend that used me as her outlet to vent while she was writing hers and I got to personally witness how rough that is. At least yours is for something truly useful man, but lolbuttz stories and novels that no one will probably ever read.

      • JvRv

        I don’t plan on writing anything for a while, so you are safe till then.

      • Lacertilian

        I was only having a look, I swear!

    • Lacertilian

      Cheers Dubya!
      ‘Tis hard to live up to the standards regularly posted in the bowl from the Lavatory Overlords.

  • Dagon

    I’ve been progressively becoming a fan of instrumental music since last year or so. It was never my cup of tea before, but now I love it.

    Great article and recommendation, from what I heard so far this band is amazeballs.

  • congrats for your first toilet writing, mr. Lizard! I will check this later, thanks for sharing <3

  • Nordling Writes ov USBM

    Yeahpeipi, I was thinking about writing these guys at some point me’self. A rather new but fricken good acquaintance to me., brb reading this article now.

  • Tyreeling In The Years

    Damn, those children be murdered. Brutal.

  • Based Tapir

    I’ve been meaning to check out this band and now seems to be the time for that.

    • i’m in the mood for post-ish style and this writing was godsend:

      http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Toundra/5123393

      • Based Tapir

        I’m in a post-ish mood as well. I ordered Izah’s newest album yesterday. Been listening to it on bandcamp and luv it.

        • Nordling Writes ov USBM

          VOIELÄMÄ!
          I am just listening to this Izah for the first time.

          • Based Tapir

            SAMIKSET!
            It’s cheaper to buy from bandcamp than porvarikauppa äx.

          • Nordling Writes ov USBM

            But BC usually has extrmelyfuckinghuge big postal fees.

          • Based Tapir

            Not for me. With postal fee it was cheaper than without postal fee from äx.

          • Nordling Writes ov USBM
          • Based Tapir

            Maybe bandcamp likes Based Tapirs more than poser BDSM bears.

          • Nordling Writes ov USBM

            I am not talking to BC from this point on.

        • I gave my first Cult of Luna spin early, too. I will check Izah when I can, my bestest tapir on the earth.

          • Based Tapir

            Also check out Callisto. Some imaginary post-metal.

          • Dagon

            Do it. Izah is good tunes.

  • JWG’s Shifty Lateral Ventricle

    Older or defunct bands, huh *noisily crumples paper*

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Doesn’t have to be! As long as they have a decent discography and aren’t extremely well known.

      • Ummm, I was trying to make a Katatonia one, but i think doesn’t meet the criteria, right?

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          Tough call, they are pretty well known, but they went through such an interesting change that it might be worth it. I’d probably say yes if you wrote it!

      • I’ll send you my draft on Jandek.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Jandek_albums

        • Jandek>>>>>>>>>>>, seriously.
          I’ll follow up with one on Buckethead.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          Aint nobody got time for that.

        • JDubs, G-Bro
          • Dagon

            Must be one hell of a show if they’re releasing this many live albums. Are they counting bootlegs?

          • Nordling Writes ov USBM

            Given that they only have nine full-lengths that ain’t even so bad.

          • Tyreeling In The Years

            I strongly approve of this.

          • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

            Sabbat’s been back together for a while now, so not exactly defunct.

          • So…

          • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

            My goof, I thought you thought that they were defunct. :-p

        • KJM

          If I were more of a writer, I’d do one on Scissorfight.

          • You should! You’ve sang their praises a few times but I’ve only heard a song or two.

          • KJM

            I’ll consider it. I’d also encourage anyone who likes Clutch, Mastodon, etc to check them out regardless.

          • Lacertilian

            Clutch, Mastodon..I’m in, where do I sign up?

      • JDubs, G-Bro

        I don’t know that many older or defunct bands anyway, those that I do are either very well known or have discographies larger than 5.

        I was working on how to condense one with a 10-album discography since ‘by era’ would actually split only between 70’s output (9 albums) and a reunion (2004).

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          You can really group albums however it makes sense with the progression of the band, not necessarily by decade. Whatever makes it easiest to talk about.

      • Lacertilian

        I wasn’t aware of this rule too, sorry Toilet overlords.
        *offers self as scapegoat*

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          This band was so good, I allowed it to defy the typical rules.

          • Lacertilian

            Thanks again for aiding this seeing the light of day.

  • Scrimm

    This stuff sounds good, but I am one of those guys who needs vocals to hold my attention for very long.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      I generally have the same problem, but I have a nice stockpile of instrumental stuff that I go to when I need some background noise. This is the tops.

      • Scrimm

        I do have some horror movie soundtracks and that John Carpenter album for those times. Didn’t even think of those.

    • Lacertilian

      Riffs are what I crave, as I’m too useless to play what I want to hear I have to rely on others for the most part.

      • Scrimm

        That’s why I’m finally trying to really learn the guitar, I’m tired of hearing riffs in my head and not being able to play or even find half of them on the damned instrument.

  • Can I do a Porcelain Throne entry on the Police Academy movies?

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Yes plz. Actually for real that would be pretty damn funny, just detailing out the differences in plot structure between films.

      • Yesssssss

        • Lacertilian

          You’re in charge of this ship dude, steer it in the direction you see fit.
          I reckon it’s a good idea, I don’t think I’ve seen all of them and would rather read about them.

    • Tyreeling In The Years
    • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

      RIP, Hightower.
      They’re actually talking about doing a new one with the surviving cast from what I read.

    • Further Down the Metal Hole

      Can’t even remember when I saw one last and highly doubt I’ve seen all of them. Loved them as a kid, even with the German dub!

  • Mother Shabubu III

    I hear a bit of “Pelagial” The Ocean in there too. I really like this, good find!

    To return the favor, I discovered these guys a few days ago. Hard to believe this is from ’94.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUlfkYCz2Zw

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Good call on the The Ocean similarity. Also this is very interesting, love the guitar tone, seems very ahead of its time if it’s really from ’94.

      • Mother Shabubu III

        Yeah it does. Shining covered this song too. From what I’ve listened to from Seigmen they were masters of making atmosphere without sacrificing structure or memorability. Then one of the members left and some of the other ones formed an industrial rock band a la Orgy/Oomph!/Manson.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Twi9lY0xZs

    • Lacertilian

      Just needs less vox

  • @Lacertilian:disqus, i’m still not quite sure if you’re going to be seeing this 12 hours ago or 12 hours from now, but…
    this article was tremendous! i love the music and will be purchasing albums ASAP…

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      He’s not a time traveling reptile, as far as I am aware.

      • ..Australia

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          I am not sure if you understand how time works?

          • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

            Of course he does. Everyone knows Time is what Wintersun puts out every 10-20 years.

      • Lacertilian

        I’m working on it.
        Or I was working on it, or will be working on it.
        Actually, fuck work.

    • Lacertilian

      The lizard hath arrived, after a day’s drudgery & near death.
      It says your comment is 8 hours old but it’s 15:00 on the 26th here, so I’ll let you do the math.
      This may be the only time where a McNulty special & a Reptilian piece air within a day of each other.
      TovH double shot!

  • SWOLEBEARD

    Yeah, lassy and I were talking about toundra the other day and BOOM. Are we prophets? Nice writeup

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    toundra is a good reminder about small towns and good time—as well as some kind of freaky murder trip or whatever–nice
    good music
    (both at once–1st muted–2nd full vol)
    http://youtu.be/rkT-ZfY0gRw

    http://youtu.be/WTCnno-3EGE

    • Maik Beninton

      I like one song from Kid Rock from his first album and I didn’t listen to the rest of his discography. Looking at this it looks like generic country rock, and while I don’t hate it I couldn’t care less.

    • sexy

  • Spear

    FUCK. Late to the party, but damn this is good.

    • Lacertilian

      Yeah man, they really do deserve some more notice.
      I hope everyone who enjoyed the tracks I posted, to at the very least, head on over to their bandcamp and give a whole album a spin.
      Difficult to grasp everything they do encapsulated in one track.

      • Tina…The Brutal Fey

        Nice debut Lac.

        Kitsune is my pick of the bunch, with its’ Russian Circles vibes.

        • Lacertilian

          Cheers … they’re tops eh. I have resisted listening to Kitsune so far, their albums have such a good flow, I want to hear it in it’s entirety. For me, it’s going to be one of those albums.
          *hides obvious boner*

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    I will give any instrumental music a listen. Surprising myself, I started to really appreciate its many forms roughly two years ago. I’m just too lazy to search for new bands myself, so this is greatly appreciated!

    • BobLoblaw

      Check out Electro Quarterstaff, Hella, Concentric and Teramobil. Pretty different styles but all really good.

      • Further Down the Metal Hole

        Thanks for the recommendation!