Album Review: Toothdrinker – The Last Escape

Fans of renowned horror game franchise Resident Evil can rejoice, as a new outbreak is about to be unleashed! Cardiff’s TOOTHDRINKER, present their debut album Last Escape which is based upon 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. In the vein of classic rock operas not dissimilar to the likes of MEAT LOAF with strains of metal included, witness the journey of escape from a virus-infected city whilst being stalked by a superhuman weapon.

Welcome To Raccoon City initially feels like it could have been part of the original game soundtrack. Gradually building up with an introductory vocal setting the scene before unleashing a classic rock riff that is instantly infectious.

Valentine’s Day’s gloomy bass intro and added guitar totally has a Welcome To The Strange (MURDERDOLLS) feel about it which is no bad thing. Primarily a monologue from the character of Jill portrayed by Elly Lock of HUBERT’s FRIEND detecting something foreboding lurking within the shadows “I feel it watching me, its scent is everywhere, what could it want from me? What does it see?” With additional vocals from TOOTHDRINKER mastermind Sam Khaneka portraying Brad advising that Jill needs to escape “Jill please tell me that you can see, it’s only got eyes for you and me.” If you have not played the game don’t worry as everything will become apparent in due course.

One Horse Town totally channels classic rock acts of yesteryear such as THIN LIZZY. Lyrically reflecting of when one is in dire straits, and you have that one slim chance to make things right: “just because I can’t afford to take chances”.

Three Goddesses is undoubtably the ballad of the album, “In the quiet of the dark, I hear the warning.” The tempo is reminiscent of the ticking of a clock and is a perfect unison with the vocals concluding with a confrontation at the clocktower “at the clocktower we’ve got to make it out alive”

B.O.W. Down totally changes pace from the previous track, this high-adrenaline piece details the effects of the T-Virus which RE3 is themed around. Again, Elly Lock is in fine form and also features some blistering lead guitar work courtesy of SEVEN SISTERSKyle McNeill. This track makes you want to bang your head throughout and incredibly catchy.

An Expression Of Concern brings ACT I to a close and is a pure instrumental piece, allowing the dust to settle and for you to catch a breath in preparation for the final ACT to begin.

Reach For The S.T.A.R.S. once again features Kyle McNeill but this time on vocals in the character of Nemesis. Nemesis is a bio-organic weapon created to hunt down S.T.A.R.S. members Jill and Brad and has them firmly in its sights. The song is very melancholic and makes you somewhat apathetic towards Nemesis, like that of the Frankenstein Monster: “something swims within my blood, polluting my few thoughts, all my concepts turned to mud, crying out is foreknown. Is this who I become?”

Born To Waste totally reflects the sounds of a moving train powerfully harnessed by the guitar work showcased within and is a very prog-rock orientated track.

Digging Your Own Grave could have easily featured on ALICE COOPER albums of yesteryear. There’s great guitar showmanship included here from FYRDSMAN’s TIM SHAW too.

Under My Skin once again details the Nemesis creatures continuing confrontations with Jill and this song details the penultimate encounter: “everyday it gets worse, how can I rid myself of this curse”

It’s In Your Blood certainly embraces 90’s videogame scores with its synth-fuelled introduction. This grand finale is exactly what you want from a rock opera with multiple vocalists helping drive the narration of this glorious swansong, to varying tempo changes which reflect any final boss fight in videogames.

Considering the themes covered within The Last Escape would traditionally fall more in line with the Black and Death Metal subgenres, what TOOTHDRINKER have established is that you can still create music in your own style and not be held by traditional boundaries and the norm.  As a fan of the Resident Evil game franchise, I really enjoyed references within the lyrics throughout but this album can wholeheartedly be appreciated by those with no association to the video game franchise too. Suffice to say, the album has certainly got Under My Skin!

Rating: 10/10

Words: Martin White

The Last Escape is out now.

Find TOOTHDRINKER on Facebook.

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