When I first came into contact with TOAD, my instinctive reaction was to scratch my head, wondering what kind of band would ever come up with such a name. It wasn’t only until slightly later that I found out that this was simply an abbreviation of Take over and Destroy, and Rotten Tide is this black/sludge metal outfit’s debut EP.
Unlike what the album cover depicts (which could easily mislead people into expecting an atmospheric or ambient black metal album), Rotten Tide presents to listener an extremely groovy form of black metal. The album opens with black metal-styled trem-picked riffs of Midnight Hunger, but before long the band starts going into a more groovy mode, displaying their unique style of music to the listener. From that raw guitar tone and the riffs that Alex and Nate let loose to the old-school rock ‘n’ roll drumming style of Shane, Rotten Tide is an extremely fun album to groove along to, though the band manages to retain some slight black metal elements throughout the album and this is most evident on the riffing patterns on some of the tracks. Aside from the ability to easily transit between different musical styles, the band also manages to infuse some element of fun in their music. For example, the catchiness of the album is also shown on the shout-a-long portion that the band included on Necrophatic Vatican. Morning Disgust even has a short organ intro that brings to mind psychedelic bands like Electric Wizard, further displaying the wide variety of influences the band has put into the release.
There are moments though when there is slight slip-up, such as that slightly sloppy riffs on Pale Nimbus, where the guitars almost seem to go out of sync with the rest of the band, though this ironically helps to add to the authentic feel of the album, further aided by the sufficiently raw production quality of the album. Overall though, this short 20 minute EP is certainly a fun album to listen to and that the band recorded this in analogue would certainly please purists who prefer the sound of true old-school recording techniques.