For the past few weeks, Invisible Oranges has hosted a series of studio diaries by Arizona's Take Over and Destroy, whose self-titled third LP will be released this Friday, October 7, and which is streaming below.

Normally, this website does not engage in this kind of extensive hype-beasting. We made an exception for two reasons.

First, I believe in their record. The band formerly known as TOAD has produced an album that’s clinched a space on my year-end list, and while I grow increasingly uncomfortable with treating great records as items on a public shopping list, this website more or less exists as a recommendation engine. I want to put this recommendation in bold, increase its font size, and underline it.

Second, though, and maybe more important, I’m aware that musicians in young bands, or who are thinking about starting bands, can learn from Take Over and Destroy, and that’s valuable.

In those videos, Take Over and Destroy demonstrated (perhaps unintentionally) the fundamental building blocks of what makes this record worth examining. They choose the sound of their keyboards and effects carefully, but also do so while experimenting. They plan and execute, using music theory, not only their gang shouts but the harmonized vocals that underpin their songs. If harmony adds a little spice to the new Metallica song it really anchors what Take Over and Destroy are doing, maybe, with better results.

Their self-titled album offers a lot of ear candy, and they double down on those memorable bits. Every song has a strong vocal hook, either sung, screamed or both. After years of extreme heavy metal downplaying the importance of vocals, this band’s making them a central part of their aesthetic.

Which isn’t to say that Take Over and Destroy is some gift delivered from on high. The band’s influences are obvious. There’s a whole lot of Danzig and Mercyful Fate here albiet filtered through a little High on Fire. That said, many groups mine similar stone, arguably less well.

In last year’s review of Children of the Night by Tribulation, I argued that heavy metal’s love of retrospective sounds - reviving the sounds of the genre’s commercial peaks from the last century - is not as potent and interesting as attempting to evolve those sounds. Tribulation offer an alternate-timeline version of extreme metal. Take Over and Destroy exists in the same timeline. I like it better. It lands a few solid hits where Tribulation scored glancing blows. Especially in the chorus department. I can’t get “Bring Me The Rope” out of my head.

Take Over and Destroy aren't following someone else’s lead. They’ve never sounded like another band, which makes that they’ve landed among such esteemed peers in 2016 so remarkable: They’ve written what, to these ears, sounds like an instant-classic without the head of steam built up from working in an established scene, and the leeway to experiment that comes with it. This experiment is a success.



Take Over and Destroy is out October 7 via Prosthetic Records. Pre-order it here. Follow Take Over and Destroy on Facebook.


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