New Jersey's Toothgrinder have been receiving a lot of buzz lately. They've popped up on tour in support of The Faceless, After The Burial, and The Contortionist, among others, and have recently won Best Heavy Rock Band (2010,2011,2012,2013) and Best Drummer (2011,2013) by the Asbury Park Music Awards. Metal Sucks gave this album a 4.5 out of 5, that's what made me want to check out this album.

Toothgrinder refer to themselves as the keepers of the shred, I gotta say that's pretty lame. I really wouldn't say this album shreds, I've listened to it multiple times and I've had a hard time forming a solid opinion about the album. There's parts of the album I really like and parts that are near cringe inducing. These guys are all talented musicians and the production values on Nocturnal Masquerade are top notch, but this album sounds like a metalcore album from 10 years ago.

10 years ago I probably would have loved this album. It reminds me of Soilwork and Killswitch Engage, and a lot of other metalcore bands that faded into obscurity after metalcore stopped being trendy. While Soilwork's sound has evolved and have put out in recent years what I believe is some of their best work, and the return of Jesse Leach to Killswitch Engage has briefed new life into the band, Toothgrinder remains stuck in the past. Like most metalcore bands from the 2000's this album is metalcore by numbers. The songs start off with a heavy part, go into the melodic chorus, then into the lead break, and throw a solo in there for good measure, rinse wash and repeat.

Nocturnal Masquerade is by no means a bad album at best it's above average, I just found it unremarkable. Even after multiple listens I found it hard to find anything that really stands out or that's memorable on this album that separates Toothgrinder from everything else that's out there.