The Angry Toons - Toonomicon - Album Review - Avant-Garde Metal from Oakland, California, USA

The Angry Toons - Toonomicon - Album Review - Avant-Garde Metal from Oakland, California, USA

Today, I am diving into the chaotic world of another boundary-pushing project, an avant-garde metal band, The Angry Toons, hailing from Oakland, California, USA. Their debut studio album, Toonomicon, was released on June 6, 2023, and it challenges us immensely with its visionary work, encouraging us to broaden our perspectives.

The Angry Toons - Sh!t Show (Official Music Video)

Directed by Melanie Lake

It’s one of those days where I feel unexpectedly energetic, strong, and positive, as I haven’t felt for a long time. I found myself listening to The Angry Toons’ debut studio album, Toonomicon, an avant-garde concept that resonated deeply with my off-course life, reminding me not to take things too seriously. The music made me feel as if I was in that small live-room where this music was performed and recorded live by the band, leaving a lasting impression. Amid all the uncertainty in life and this very project, one thing is for sure: Toonomicon harnesses all the live energy that this music can possibly produce.

Toonomicon album is one of the most experimental yet familiar works I have listened to, incorporating influences of the '90s and 2000s punk, rock, jazz, and metal elements in an unusually artsy, live, raw, unfiltered, and imperfect way. The album immediately stands out for its heavy musical concept, while carrying the potential of becoming the representation of its unique character. I personally don’t remember hearing such freedom in rock and metal music genres, except for jazz, for a long time.

The musical foundation of Toonomicon consists of ’90s punk rock, grunge rock, noise rock, thrash, heavy metal, 2000s nu, progressive, and djent metal, in the briefest definition. The general concept is centered on raw tracking while performing live with all the imperfections of it, and maintaining the idea in sound design, characterization, and production. The extremity in their perspective doesn’t only constitute the technical side but the musical foundation as well, giving life to an unusually raw and unfiltered live-performing energy, a manifesto against our modern digitalized music.

Moreover, the instrumentation provides the foundation for each song, following a path that, to me, doesn’t really seem to exist. Almost all of these songs on the album sounded like jam sessions, leaving me wondering if any of these compositions were momentarily recorded live. The musical storyline follows the idea of not maintaining any familiar way of a certain mood, rather producing an electrifying energy that immediately fills your body.

Lastly, Scampi, the vocalist contributes to The Angry Toons’ character, aligning with the unusual avant-garde concept of the band. She accompanies all songs with all the freedom imaginable in jazz music, doesn’t seem to want to shape or lead it, but rather follows the mood. Amid all the complexity, she plays an important role in the band’s character, perhaps even an indispensable one.

The Angry Toons, band photoPhoto credit: Unknown

Despite my appreciation for the collective’s bravery and visionary approach, I still feel uncertain about some aspects of the project. First and foremost, I acknowledge the fact that every single piece in The Angry Toons’ concept originates from its imperfection. Capturing their live takes without any boundaries, filters, or editing, with only the limitation of two djenty 8-string electric guitars and a monstrous nu-metal bass, '90s dynamic punk rock/thrash metal drums, and dirty grunge, noise, and art rock vocals that are constantly singing off-note. Every single piece has the same weirdness and strangeness, finding a meaning when they come together, just like in this example.

Secondly, during my listen today, I asked myself if this music could get any better in terms of production, and the first name that came to my mind was Rick Rubin, who is well-known for giving meaning to the meaningless. Toonomicon has all the necessary quality to represent 100% raw, imperfect, and live-performing punky rock music, yet my impression of the album didn’t really make me desire to consume more of this specific music.

The Angry Toons, band photoPhoto credit: Unknown

In conclusion, my experience of the Toonomicon album was nothing but a real challenge to my perspective. Entirely raw and unedited captured takes of live-performing band with only the limitations of human understanding, two djenty electric guitars, '90s punk rock drums, an artsy vocalist with all the freedom imaginable in jazz, a 2000s nu-metal bass, incorporating punk, rock, metal, and jazz influences. It's one of the most absurd yet visionary avant-garde metal I’ve discovered in a long time. Thank you for reading.

Creditsreleased June 6, 2023

Scampi - Lead VocalsCap'n Morgan - Guitar, VocalsAnth0s - Bass, Backup Vocals, Additional Featured Vocals on I Don't Mean To Be A D!ck, But F*ck you & Toon Raider, Synthesizer, ProgrammingEagorr - Drums, Additonal Backup Vocals on Endless Scream & Frankenstein #2

Saxophone on Renegade Retribution performed by Nathan PetersonAdditional Backup Vocals, Guitar Coaching, and Vocal Coaching (for Cap'n Morgan) by Alex Taunton

Chorus lyrics for I Don't Mean To Be A Dick, But Fuck You originally written by Todd Cakus and Drue Berti.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Bergstrom and Randall Rey

Album Cover by K3N

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Anthony Davis at Space Pirate Studios in Oakland, California. Vocal mixing by Daniel Rodrigues at DROD Sound.

Produced by Anthony Davis and Daniel Rodrigues.

The Angry Toons on the Web


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