Monday, November 25, 2013

Toxic Holocaust - Chemistry of Consciousness

This review originally appeared in local alt-weekly paper ROCKSTAR vol. 1, issue 4; available now all over Central Texas. Pick up at copy at a record store, head shop, tattoo parlor, skate shop, or whatever the next time you're down.

Toxic Holocaust
Chemistry of Consciousness

Joel Grind is at it again. The prolific mastermind behind Toxic Holocaust has been mixing classic 80s thrash (think Exodus and early Slayer) with the crusty English d-beat sound (Doom, Discharge, English Dogs, etc...) since 1999. On Toxic Holocaust's fifth LP Chemistry of Consciousness, Joel Grind achieves the impossible. His music is evolving without losing any of the rage and angst of the early work. Sometimes it's one or the other. Usually it's neither, so this is a rare case.

For those already familiar with Toxic Holocaust, Chemistry of Consciousness is more of the same, only bigger and better. The new record echoes the greatness of past works like Evil Never Dies or Hell On Earth but without sounding like a retread. I chalk up the difference to Joel Grind actually performing and recording with a permanent rhythm section. Check out the song "Rat Eater" for an example of what I'm saying.

For the uninitiated, think of Toxic Holocaust as similar to Municipal Waste but less party-centric and far more concerned with the fall of mankind. The punk influence is stronger in Toxic Holocaust than it is with the majority of new-school thrash bands. What separates them from the pack is those driving, d-beat rhythms (similar to Tragedy, His Hero Is Gone, and From Ashes Rise) laying the foundation for riffs that would make Testament drool.

Toxic Holocaust is currently touring the Northeast with Ramming Speed and In Defence, so no Texas dates are on the books for now. However, I'd take the Vegas odds that the band will be here in time for that festival thing that happens here every year during Spring Break. If you saw the 2012 Chaos In Tejas show with Midnight, then you know how neck-breakingly awesome Toxic Holocaust's live show is. My advice is to buy a copy of Chemistry of Consciousness and then to patiently wait outside of Red7 for the band to arrive.


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