Album Review: The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series Of Unfortunate Events

They may be the bearers of one of the most delightfully ludicrous band names imaginable, but to dismiss The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza as mere purveyors of frivolity would be wide of the mark. Granted, an element of humour has recurred throughout all three of the Tennessee grindcore troupe’s albums, but a refreshing sense of raw unpredictability, impressive methodical structures and truly overwhelming savagery are all traits for which the band has ultimately been most renowned. The third TTDTDE release and first for three years, the marvellously titled ‘Danza III: The Series Of Unfortunate Events’, possesses each of the aforementioned characteristics in droves, and although there is the sense that this band is capable of producing something far greater than this in years to come, ‘Danza III’ may well turn out to be a vital landmark in the trio’s career.

The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza Danza III ArtworkWithout doubt, the most attractive element of ‘Danza III’ is its rather intoxicating, powerful heaviness, and the extent of its relentlessness. The album is a true statement of purpose in this respect, and TTDTDE succeed in making this known instantly with the seismic low-tuned riffs and restless rhythms that form opener ‘Vicki Mayhem’. Guitarist Josh Travis, who really brings out the best in his instrument with a colossal guitar tone, excels in terms of these unequivocally brutal riffs which form the basis of his band’s overall style, but by implementing a touch of flair to proceedings, he adds another string to his bow. This flair is unearthed in various ways, from the infecting dissonance of the Johnny Truant-esque ‘Yippie-Kay-Yay MOTHER!@#$%^’ to the progressive invention of ‘The Union’, via the focused frenzy of ‘Passenger 57’.

The sheer extremity of ‘Danza III’ cannot, however, be solely attributed to the ferocity of Travis’s guitar work. Drummer Mike Bradley plays with similar intensity throughout, which is evident on the somewhat eerie ‘A Trail Of Tears’ as well as the explosive ‘Hour Of The Time’. As is the case with Travis, though, there is a systematic quality to Bradley’s style of play, and on the adrenaline-fuelled ‘W.A.L.L.S.’, the drummer displays a great deal of invention and distinctiveness. The individual performance of vocalist Jessie Freeland is also very strong; with a style not too dissimilar to that of Poison The Well’s Jeffrey Moreira, his impassioned, almost forlorn cries never fall below a very high standard.

In spite of the fact that the level of skill on display is unquestionable, however, the Achilles heel of ‘Danza III’ is that its unwavering heaviness starts to become a tad monotonous after a period of time, and although there is plenty of variation of riffs and rhythms, there is not enough variation of style. The unique interchange between clean guitars and typical distortion on the strangely brilliant ‘There’s A Time And A Place For Everything’ is the one instance where the band do deviate from the norm, and given that this is implemented so effectively, there is the feeling that a greater sense of adventure from the trio would do them the world of good. Nevertheless, the impressive musicianship and blistering chaos on offer will certainly satisfy long-term fans of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza while recruiting newcomers to the band’s fanbase, and there is an abundance of evidence on ‘Danza III: The Series Of Unfortunate Events’ to suggest that the prospect of ‘Danza IV’, if and when it materialises, could potentially be mouth-watering.

Rating – 7

     

About JJPorter

JJ is a 20-year-old student hailing from Scotland, who lives and breathes music. His favourite genres include a variety of styles of metal, as well as hardcore, punk, and just about everything in between. Contact JJPorter on Twitter or via Email.

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