Review: Motherboar – “Raise the Death Toll” (Witch Trial Records)

One of the rising bands in the stacked to-the-brim Boston metal scene is MOTHERBOAR. They have been voted best metal band in Boston several times since Raise the Death Toll was released and they are now generally thought of in the upper echelon of this area. Revisiting this awesome record now after years of seeing how far they’ve come is very gratifying to me.

Opening up with the sinister and heavy “Ode to Swine” the band manages to distill most of their influences into a three minute masterpiece. Sludge-y riffs and punishing beats make up their style with occasional bursts of thrash, doom and modern metal. The track starts off all slow and groovy with a hypnotic bass line courtesy of Joe Grotto. His brother Benny provides the beats and really pushes the envelope from behind the kit. Singer Kenny Irwin screams like an angrier, long-lost cousin of CLUTCH frontman Neal Fallon. His powerful, howling voice leads the charge on every track. The title track is next and is akin to MOTORHEAD on a crack binge with plenty of head-nodding beats and old-school gang vocals for the most discerning heavy music fan. When the song breaks down to a slower pace, it definitely has elements of DOWN style chug in it. Kicking back into high gear the song has loads of major thrash riffage to make this such a fun track to jam out to. It’s an absolute killer live too.

Aside from the great vocalist and the killer rhythm section, what really sets MOTHERBOAR apart from their peers are two sick guitarists in the form of Brian Connor and Andrew Doherty. They have learned the secret of other bands like THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and MASTODON (two other influences I hear) on how to intertwine guitar parts that are both brutal and intricate at the same time. It’s a skill that is learned and earned so take note all you fledgling axe-wielders! “Get Inside” is a good example of this with riffs that crunch and lock in tight when they need to, but also split up and meet up again later like old friends. This song also sports another rocking breakdown that will make you want to throw the horns, drink beers and mosh. The ending transforms into a giant, crazy rave up/burn out. “Thundadome” is next and the bands’ trademark fantastic lyrics are a real standout here. There is also some more dizzying guitar chunk, some fabulous harmonized guitars, neat counterpoint from the bass and a terrific guitar solo to go totally nuts to. “Imperial Lagerblayde” and “Dead by Dawn” (not the DEICIDE song) offers up more of the same aural carnage and swampy-grooves as the earlier tracks do. Final track “Terrordactyl” might still be the best song of the bands’ career to this day. It has all of the elements of a great modern metal song in terms of great musical proficiency and over the top, cave- man heaviosity. As the final lyric repeats “All hail the Terrordactyl” and I will add to that all hail MOTHERBOAR! You can pick up this must have record direct from the band at

RATING: 9 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
Band Facebook: 

Comments are closed.