Monday, March 04, 2013

Review: Joel Grind - The Yellowgoat Sessions

Joel Grind is the founder of the revered blackened thrash metal group Toxic Holocaust, acting as on-stage vocalist/guitarist while performing the duties of every instrument on studio releases; sans the 2012 album. Typically a one-man-band, Joel also founded War Ripper and is half of the Japan based thrash metal duo, Tiger Junkies. In general Grind fashion, his new self-titled project is operated entirely by himself; including mixing, production and releasing. What does The Yellowgoat Sessions, the new descent into dirty, Satan worshiping rock n' roll, have to offer?

Genre: Black/Speed Metal
Label: Acid Rat Records
Release Date: January 15th, 2013
  1. Ascension (Intro)
  2. Hell's Master of Hell
  3. Vengeance Spell
  4. Foul Spirit Within
  5. Cross Damnation
  6. Grave Encounters
  7. Black Order
  8. The Eternal One
  9. Hail to Cruelty
  10. Descension (Outro)
Total Playtime: 24 minutes, 55 seconds





Rating: 8.5/10






Joel Grind is the founder of the revered blackened thrash metal group Toxic Holocaust, acting as on-stage vocalist/guitarist while performing the duties of every instrument on studio releases; sans the 2012 album. Typically a one-man-band, Joel also founded War Ripper and is half of the Japan based thrash metal duo, Tiger Junkies. In general Grind fashion, his new self-titled project is operated entirely by himself; including mixing, production and releasing. What does The Yellowgoat Sessions, the new descent into dirty, Satan worshiping rock n' roll, have to offer?

Allegedly, The Yellowgoat Sessions was recorded over the span of just a couple of days in the summer of 2012 and has gone through two mixes via Joel Grind; he in turn says this latter mix gives a grittier, rawer feel that the previous mix had lacked. His perseverance has paid off greatly, as the material presented is authentically raw, energetic and gives a great throwback to more classic Satan hailing black/thrash/speed metal bands such as Countess, Bathory, Beherit and Venom; in fact, the production is so raw that at some points you can hear the buzzing of the guitar's amplifier. What mostly keeps this release out of the Toxic Holocaust discography are the lyrics, which consist of pure Satanic worship rather than war and nuclear fallout; that, and Toxic Holocaust are now a solid three piece band rather than a solo project. The lyrics are above average in comparison to some of the older material written by Joel, and the majority of the songs fall back on a catchy chorus two or three times over.


Characteristically, the vocal track is exuberant, unproduced and laden with echo effects that give a thin, atmospheric layer between them and the instruments. Sometimes this enhancement becomes heavier, giving a more demonic feel to the material, such as what is heard in "Foul Spirit Within" and "The Eternal One". These tracks are among the top tier of The Yellowgoat Sessions, and are also the songs with a slower tempo to them that give the content relief from the expeditive pace of the remaining content. While the overall production quality of the LP is raw, the guitar comes through cleaner than the rest of the instruments, vocals included. The guitar provides a slightly distorted twangy diction, reminiscent of the style that Venom carried in their classic debut album Welcome to Hell. Along for the depraved hell ride are a respectable assortment of minor tremolo picking and a large variety of power chord riffs that prove to be as captivating as they are demoniac. On nearly every track, the listener will find simplistic, accelerated solos, which are not something that Joel Grind makes a habit to include on a large majority of his composures; it's a nice added touch that freshens up his distinctive style and adds an unpredictable twist to the album. As for the drums, they are pretty much the only unimaginative feature of the content, being comprised of generalized one-two blast beats and a small range of rolls with occasional hi-hat crashes; acting as standard background filler to reinforce the electric tempo of the material and little else.

While "Foul Spirit Within" and "The Eternal One" were touched on briefly in the above paragraph, there are some other important songs to point out. Going backwards a bit, "The Eternal One" is the most diabolical song presented and comes with an undeniable sound that is similar to early Beherit, circa Drawing Down the Moon. "Black Order" sounds like a direct rip off of Toxic Holocaust's "The Lord of the Wasteland" in both instrument and lyrical structure; nevertheless, the song is one of the biggest highlights of the album for its highly Venom inspired nature, enthralling lyrics and memorable riffs. "Cross Damnation" is one of the bigger Bathory inspired tracks and was even released as a single prior to the release of this full-length, it stands tall with prominent lyrical attributes and a decent, inspiring rhythm.

When taking into account that the material was completed in the course of roughly two days, The Yellowgoat Sessions stands as a testimony to Joel Grind's ability to write outstanding and authentic content on the spur of the moment. It fairs better than a lot of his pre-planned endeavors and it comes off as a very fresh take on blackened speed metal with old-school tendencies. The album, in full, is available as a free or pay what you feel download via Joel Grind's official Bandcamp page. Head there and take a listen! Recommended to fans of old Bathory, Countess, Venom, Toxic Holocaust, and thrashy black/speed metal lovers, you gotta check it out at least once this year.

Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR

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