It’s something of a misconception that heavy music is a drab, colorless place. While there are many proprietors of a bleak, achromatic style, there are just as many acts who treat heavy music as a veritable explosion of hues, shades and tones. Chicago’s Fire-Toolz is one such proponent of heaviness’ limitless tinctures. A solo project headed by Angel Marcloid, Fire-Toolz is a polychromatic obliteration of stylistic boundaries, refracting elements of prog rock, black metal, jazz fusion and IDM through a thrillingly-unhinged digital mirror.
Like much of what has been termed “internet music,” Fire-Toolz is a product of the fractured here-and-now. Decades of postmodernist thought has destabilized the restrictions of identity and fused with the everything, everywhere, all the time qualities of the perpetually-connected internet age. This has given birth to a new culture which views restrictions such as genre and form as relics of the past. Fire-Toolz’s latest, especially electronic-leaning EP I will not use the body’s eyes today. is a bold illustration of this wild new artistic approach.
Like how we naturally scroll past thousands of pixels every second, these seven tracks employ a relentless, overwhelming and maximalist style, one that’s often as disorientating as it is compelling. The tracks almost never settle on one texture or motif for their whole runtime, operating instead as more as a glitch-leaden digital collage. In terms of instrumentation, “Soda Lake With Game Genie” is the most conventional cut, incorporating live drums and stretches of harsh vocals that follow some semblance of pattern. However, even this heady six-and-a-half minutes is a remarkably fluid piece, interspersing unexpected stretches of saxophone and blast beats that seem to materialize right before our eyes.
This willingness to completely jettison traditional notions of structure and narrative movement is what makes I will not use the body’s eyes today. such a uniquely challenging beast. “Vedic Software Wet Interface” is a violent digital malfunction, an advanced machine collapsing in on itself and spitting out glitchy interruptions of harsh screams and complex basslines. “Jhana + Bhakti Sphere” is the most linear track on the EP, however even this revels in fracturing its lush techno beats with abrupt bass drops and distorted ruptures to its calculated momentum.
I will not use the body’s eyes today. will likely be too outlandish a proposition for many listeners. It requires a willingness to wholly suspend previously held notions regarding the maximalist limitations of music and surrendering yourself to Fire-Toolz’s deconstructed sensibilities. However, for those with an open mind and an eye to the future, this EP is a tantalizing precognition of a world where all art and culture functions according to these stylistic boundaries, or lack thereof. The concept of identity, be it musical, personal or political, is becoming increasingly malleable and splintered. In the words of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, “the self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities.”