Sunday, October 06, 2013

Review: Toxic Holocaust - Chemistry of Consciousness

Toxic Holocaust began in the underground of Oregon as a one-man band created by Joel Grind back in 1999. The last fourteen years of activity have resulted in the project growing into a three piece group, gaining a bassist and drummer in 2008, as Joel remains the vocalist/guitarist and all around mastermind behind the songwriting, lyrics, tracking and composing of each album. Fueled by beer, hell-fire and nuclear warfare, Toxic Holocaust is a thrashing force to be reckoned with and the steady 2-3 year release time frame (not including splits and other ventures) keeps their name constantly thriving in the underground. Fans anxiously await the new onslaught of devastation that each album promises, and while Chemistry of Consciousness is the fifth installment, is it the most explosive full-length yet?

Genre: Speed/Thrash/Black Metal
Release Date: October 29th, 2013
  1. Awaken the Serpent
  2. Silence
  3. Rat Eater
  4. Salvation is Waiting
  5. Out of the Fire
  6. Acid Fuzz
  7. Deny the Truth
  8. Mkultra
  9. I Serve...
  10. International Conspiracy
  11. Chemistry of Consciousness
Total Playtime: 28 minutes, 13 seconds




Rating: 7.5/10




Toxic Holocaust began in the underground of Oregon as a one-man band created by Joel Grind back in 1999. The last fourteen years of activity have resulted in the project growing into a three piece group, gaining a bassist and drummer in 2008, as Joel remains the vocalist/guitarist and all around mastermind behind the songwriting, lyrics, tracking and composing of each album. Fueled by beer, hell-fire and nuclear warfare, Toxic Holocaust is a thrashing force to be reckoned with and the steady 2-3 year release time frame (not including splits and other ventures) keeps their name constantly thriving in the underground. Fans anxiously await the new onslaught of devastation that each album promises, and while Chemistry of Consciousness is the fifth installment, is it the most explosive full-length yet?

Each Toxic Holocaust album comes with Joel Grind's own type of home brewed chemistry; he mixes a little bit of thrash, speed, black, punk and death metal together, then slightly alters their levels with each new release. This time what we have is a heavy dose of speed metal with black metal tendencies and a punk overtone. While Chemistry of Consciousness isn't radically different from any other release by the band, it's definitely the fastest of their entire catalog up to this point. It also seems to have the largest amount of solos as well, and the solos themselves are great throwbacks to old black speed metal such as Venom and Sodom.

However, the material does little in the way of being anything new or overly creative for the band; as stated before, Joel Grind likes his formula. It pretty well stands to say that if you've heard one Toxic Holocaust album, you've more or less heard them all aside from a few tweaks here and there. There are the satanic, nuclear apocalypse, black magic, and angst ridden themes regularly associated with the lyrical content, while the instruments carry the usual thrash/punk styled composure. The compositions consist of thrashing blast beats that rumble through the background with a bass kick, low snare and hi-hat combo while in the forefront there's the crunchy, distorted guitar tone that has come to be a signature for Joel Grind. As far as the riffs are concerned, the main ones are memorable with a good variety of punk down-strum only hooks, up and down strummed areas, snippets of tremolo picking, palm muted and open power chords as well as lightning fast two string single fret picking. Joel's characteristic growl is ever present and barren of any echo effects, rather this time around there is a fuzz distortion instead. All the while, the bass plunks away behind the guitar with a deep line that easily keeps tempo with the main guitar riffs, giving the overall content a heavy power drive.

Chemistry of Consciousness is a brutally fast assault on the eardrums that promises to keep the listener headbanging like a maniac through the relentless chaos of each track. While the guitar riffs are notable, there is nothing here that would stand out above and beyond from any other Toxic Holocaust release. The band are quickly becoming the Cannibal Corpse of the thrash metal scene, recording the same efforts each time they go back into the studio. Joel Grind holds off a lot of his alternative content for other projects, such as The Yellowgoat Sessions (reviewed here) that he released under his own name earlier this year and Hell Storm (reviewed here) under War Ripper. Some variety within the discography could prove crucial for the next release.

Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR

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