A casual stroll through the Fire-Toolz’s catalog can induce vertigo. Each song flirts with unabashed forays into disparate genres—extreme metal, IDM, jazz fusion—changing course before you can get a handle on exactly what is happening. Just as you begin to enjoy your newfound affinity for industrial screamo or what sounds like a melted Windham Hill LP played backwards (or both at the same time), producer Angel Marcloid flips the radio dial. It’s like that old saw: “If you don’t like a Fire-Toolz song, just wait five seconds.”
The secret is in these transgressions: Fire-Toolz’s blasphemous potion composed of glitchy breakcore mashed into airy new age synth sections, Marcloid howling underneath the profanity of a fretless bass guitar, decked in corpse paint and burning down a church designed by Lisa Frank. None of it should work, and yet Fire-Toolz has enjoyed a growing legion of fans and near-universal critical acclaim.
After 2021’s brilliant, expansive double album Eternal Home, it was difficult to imagine that Fire-Toolz had any room to grow, like Marcloid had engineered a sandbox-style video game and stuffed its world’s edges with crystalline pyramids and rainbow slime waterfalls. But instead of going bigger, on Fire-Toolz’s new, independently released EP, I will not use the body’s eyes today., Marcloid recalibrates the sound to be both lighter and heavier at its extreme poles.
The EP’s centerpiece is “Soda Lake With Game Genie,” which Marcloid has freely acknowledged is an outlier on the record. Opening with a twinkling piano and clean vocals that would slot in nicely in an early edition of NOW That’s What I Call Music, the song evolves into what sounds like Dystopia re-recording Gaucho. A soloing guitar echoing a shiny sax line seems ripped from the theme song of a mid-’90s WB sitcom. “To stretch out my soul like a fawn in the face of fear until I compress my tears into a heavenly waterfall,” Marcloid growls. That’s the vast expanse above Marcloid’s world, dripping with despair.
On “A Moon in the Morning,” we’re underground. Marcloid demonically screeches over a wave of ambient drone that smacks against a wall of harsh noise, about “the soft bed of infinity” and “the feeling of chewing on dirt.” But there’s hope and rebirth buried beneath. “Gardeners, pull up my weeds and feed them to me like embodiment would,” she invokes. “Create a high & rooted world.” Fire-Toolz is once again triumphant in Marcloid’s unusual contexts and stark dichotomies.
Though four of the EP’s seven tracks are instrumental, Marcloid mines deeper into the unholy instrument that is her voice. Locked into screamo mode on Eternal Home and previous Fire-Toolz releases, I will not use the body’s eyes today. sees Marcloid executing a speedrun through extreme metal. There’s high-pitched, lo-fi USBM shrieks; guttural goregrind growls; and the glitchy, grating banshee screams of industrial metal, and that’s just on “Vedic Software ~ Wet Interfacing.”
A sequential imbalance is what holds Fire-Toolz back on I will not use the body’s eyes today, though, as the four instrumentals dilute the sheer power of the seven-track EP. “Air For Breakfast: She Is Safe & So Am I,” which begins as dreamy, cloud-floating techno and abruptly shifts to a nightmare of glitches and oozing drones, stands out. Elsewhere, Marcloid’s missing voice, masterfully utilized on the other three tracks, aches like a phantom limb. Still, within each instrumental are dozens of fantastic and strange micro-genre moments—a single strum of a shoegaze-y guitar that melts away or one measure of frenetic Agoraphobic Nosebleed double-bass—folded into tiny pockets and together forming, at the very least, lush and vivid soundscapes. Demanding repeat voyages, the EP is deep listening for those who believe in hidden worlds.
I will not use the body’s eyes today. never quite reaches the high bar set by its predecessor. As a standalone document, it’s a minor work by a major artist. But ingested holistically among the worlds Fire-Toolz has already constructed, it’s the promise of infinity at Marcloid’s fingertips.