Angel Marcloid’s music under the name Fire-Toolz presents a consciousness striving for radical self-expression. Rainbow Bridge, the third Fire-Toolz album on Hausu Mountain, continues Marcloid’s exploration of ever more high-definition production techniques and rapidly shifting compositional architectures in order to give life to one of her most personal and pointedly emotional thematic programs to date. If passages of prog synth intricacy, scream-soaked deathcore, and free-form textural sculpture might seem to be signifiers that land far from each other on a vast 3D plane, Fire-Toolz weaves them into some coherent language that carries its own sinuous pace and unlikely logic. Against fantasy-like visions of mutating electronic production, weighted thick with ballistic drum programming and ornate keyboard harmonies, Fire-Toolz maintains a consistent vocal palette of high-pitched, distorted shrieks. The synth tone scientist, the prog drummer, the noise collage miscreant, the soaring guitar solo shredder — instead of all of these personas “becoming one,” Rainbow Bridge places them in a state of constant flux and recombination, of one becoming many at any given moment.
While Rainbow Bridge’s title hearkens back to the name of Marcloid’s now defunct omni-noise tape label, its presence here returns to its semantic origin as a symbol for the staircase that our beloved pets take to the afterlife. Fire-Toolz draws on the death of companions, specifically the dearly departed cat Breakfast, to center on concepts of mortality, compassion, grief, and the capacity that the human being has for love and meaningful connection within its own infinite depth. The album draws power from an awareness of death, and acknowledges the insights and transformative challenges that bloom from its proximity. Fire-Toolz’s mosaic outpouring of ideas and emotions blossoms into existence in musical forms that infuse a gnarled sense of grandeur into baroque manifestations of beauty and chaos. In tribute to a loved one, Marcloid seeks to match the complexity of their shared experience, while gesturing toward the inscrutability of what waits beyond this life.