Review of the Album Tolerance 0 by Finnish Groovy Thrash Metal Band S-Tool
Who Is the Band S-Tool?
S-Tool also known as Severing Tool is one of the newest entrants or bands to the Finnish metal scene having only been around since 2015. It has what we might call a sort of notable lineup of members, and one of these members is the most famous, the one and only Ville Laihiala, formerly of the bands Sentenced and Poisonblack. Joining him are guitarist Sami Leppikangas, also known to Gothic rock fans as Sami Vauhkonen and bassist Kimmo “Heavy” Hiltunen, and drummer Aksu Hanttu formerly of the band Entwine. I really miss the music of Lullacry so it is a welcome return for Sami and Kimmo.
Tolerance 0 Gets Off to a Strong Start
Tolerance 0 is the debut album of this Finnish groovy thrash metal band. The song that got me into these guys is the song called Lights Out. The song has a solid, heavy riff that hooks you into the music instantly. It is is not extremely heavy like Pantera around 1996 however it is catchy enough and do not be surprised if you keep on hitting the back button on this song.
S-Tool Marks a Triumphant Return for Two Members of the Band Lullacry
The solo in the song Lights Out is similar in style to the band Mental Care Foundation and it is nice to see Sami playing solos since he really didn't do that too much when he was a member of Lullacry. In spite of the title of the first song, it is time to turn the lights on and enjoy a fine song! Even though it was initially mentioned that Tolerance 0 is a groovy thrash metal album, the album and the band do use mostly groove metal but they add a touch of rock as well and mix it with blues style solos.
Ville Laihiala Is a Decent Vocalist
For Ville, this is another opportunity to try a new musical project and reinvent himself. He is the oldest member of this band having been born in June 1973 so that makes him 47 years old. I briefly listened to the Poisonblack material and to a pretty good amount of the Sentenced songs but this is music that is my cup of tea, modern groovy thrash metal. The vocal style for Ville is slightly a different approach, given the fact that this is different from what he did while in the band Sentenced. His voice isn't as harsh as that of Henrik Klingenberg and he has a better low range than Henrik does. Yes, Ville doesn't have a super high vocal range but at least he does not overdo it on the vocals like John Arch for instance. Ville has that low, rough groovy thrash kind of voice and he is decent for heavy Gothic rock.
Initial Analysis of the Album Tolerance 0
In spite of the album's title, you can tolerate quite a bit of these guys because although their music is heavy, it is not the overwhelming kind of heavy thrash as is seen in several other kinds of bands. This is not to say that other thrash metal sucks but S-Tool offers a simple kind of groovy thrash that you can sit back and listen to while also getting a dose of thrash metal from Finland, a country that has one of the best metal scenes in the entire world. “Hammering” is a song that lyrically describes a person that is consumed by so much anger that he feels as if he is drowning underwater. The bass lines are also decent in this album with a little amp style feedback thrown in but the solos are fast with the wah pedal used but they are still good ones. “There Lies Life” is a more mid-tempo song about a rather morbid subject, death. If there is a hidden good thing about this band it is that their albums are short, clocking in at no more than 35 minutes long and for some fans, a short dose of thrash metal is longer than a 60 minute thrash metal album. In some ways, an album like this is more refreshing than the older 1908s raw thrash sound that we heard with 1983's Kill 'Em All album. “Back to Zero” is a song that criticizes human beings, saying that they have sunk to their lowest point which is zero. It is as if they are walking through life acting like they are dead and they have nowhere to go to. One thing is certain and that is that since the beginning of time, humans have made mistakes and sinned.
"Back to Zero"
Tolerance 0 Final Thoughts
Tolerance 0 is groove metal at a rather simple construction with good low vocals by Ville and the bass lines are pretty good. However, it is not one of those albums that is quite in the elite category just yet. This is the first album from a new band that is trying to find where they fit in because Finland has a huge amount of talented bands and it takes time to get noticed. There is nothing to complain about in terms of the heaviness because the production is decent. Ville's attempt to sound melodic is a decent attempt and he is a good vocalist which may be good enough for now. S-Tool appeals more to me in terms of groovy thrash than bands such as Prong or Corrosion of Conformity and some may find this a rather odd thing to say but if there is one category of metal that Finland excels at while making it enjoyable in most cases is thrash metal with a touch of grooves.
© 2020 Ara Vahanian