Toothgrinder is back with a new record titled I Am and the title track to it alongside a new music. However, that's only part of the story. The real story here is the lengthy statement made by vocalist Justin Matthews regarding the lyrical content. Matthews takes a deep dive into his personal life, and explains that the new song and record are about his struggles with being an "alcoholic, addict, and co-dependent."
"I AM… a mantra, a prayer, a mediation, a belief, a value, an all encompassing way of life. The title speaks of unity and presence. Becoming comfortable in one's own skin. To endure whatever life throws at you with grace and gratitude. To love the ones who surround you and accept the things you can't control. I AM… two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shape your reality.
All of my life I have felt out of place, left out, a ghost, a phantom, a whisper in a sea of noise. I covered those deafening screams with abuse. Abusing others, friends, family, strangers, and most of all myself. I hurt the ones I love while still loving the one’s I hurt. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn't eat, I couldn't dream, I couldn't bleed, I couldn't breathe. I have yet to right my wrongs, but I hope to start with a song.
The anger, the tension, the narcissism, the callousness, the ego were nothing but amplified in my previous words. The despair was covered up in anger and ego, the void was filled with things, all types of things. Bright things, dark things, shiny things, needless things, but never the right thing, never the real thing.
I do my best to traverse through the negative and reach out a loving hand to those in need. This record's words give hope rather than facade. This record's words speak truth rather than perceived truth. This record exposes myself and the lies I have told myself and other's. If I could accomplish one thing with this record, it would be to help one person in need. One person struggling with alcoholism, addiction, depression, anxiety, loss, guilt, shame, delusion, denial, perfectionism, co-dependency, suicidal thoughts and the list goes on. I am an open book, reach out to me with whatever you are struggling with, I have most likely been there.
We traverse the dark, we traverse the light, but by the end of the record we breathe. This is who I AM. This is who we are. I speak my mind, sometimes the shadow, sometimes my plight. If there is one word that can describe this record it is love. Not the facade, but the kind that cuts wood and carries water.
'Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I AM haunted by waters. — Norman McLean'
My name is Justin and I AM an alcoholic, addict, and co-dependent. We are Toothgrinder and this is I AM."
I Am was produced by Matt Squire (Ariana Grande, Panic! At the Disco, Underoath) and is out October 11.