‘Fire By the Silos’, the debut album by Brighton progressive metal band Toska, is a concept album about humans and different aspects of the world. It’s about a man who loses everything due to both the political and economic change. The band say that the album “attempts to describe the psychological and emotional torment” that this man suffers, and I am curious how they will bring these feelings out into the music.
This album is an instrumental album, and I love instrumental music. I feel that songs without words bring out the atmosphere even more. So the first thing I noticed with the album was the heavy crushing production, which matches the theme perfectly. In particular on the opening track ‘The Herd’, the brutal crushing guitars could represent the shock this man feels that his life, as well as the other inhabitants, has suddenly fallen apart. Sometimes with progressive music, because it is so challenging it can take time to ease into. Not this. This immediately sucks you into its bleak vortex.
There are some strong riffs on here, for instance on ‘Abomasum’ where the descending chords show that this futuristic world is reduced to nothing, bringing out the feelings of anxiety to the fore. It stirs the emotions instantly, making for a gripping and chilling listen. The album as a whole represents anger, unrest, and chaos in its downtuned riffs. There’s a cinematic influence from Hans Zimmer, which I approve of and definitely adds to the emotional soundscape.
The title track features a voice, which tells in detail about how the man had everything, and now it’s all lost. The line that stuck with me was: “I was a proud man… or at least I thought I was” because it made me stop and think about how this situation has turned the man’s life upside down. It shows that the band put a lot of thought and care in how they deliver this story.
The final two tracks demonstrate the empty future, in particular, the last track, ‘The Heard’. This sounds like feedback and distorted sounds, with an announcement essentially saying that humans must rebuild their lives. The empty atmosphere is both eerie and creepy, making me imagine a world that has been destroyed by greed and money. It is a forward-thinking album that sent my imagination running wild, which is exactly what a good concept album achieves.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos