Sunday, March 02, 2014

Review: Toxic Waltz - Decades of Pain

When it comes down to it, thrash metal is a hard genre to make it in now and days with the plethora of critics and fans alike claiming how overdone the genre has become. Many will agree with this statement given the recent onslaught of old school thrash metal revival versus the over-produced sound that the new tidal wave making its way inland boasts, all the while old school death metal is being lapped up like the last supply of water on the planet. Toxic Waltz are a fairly new entrant to the thrash world, having just formed in 2009 and issued their first release, a debut full-length nonetheless, Decades of Pain this past January. Does this album rival surrounding titles of the same genre and time frame?

Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: January 23rd, 2014
  1. Arising Pain
  2. Decades of Pain
  3. World of Hate
  4. Toxic Hell
  5. Suicide Squad
  6. Green
  7. Morbid Symphony
  8. Priest of Lies
  9. Obsession to Kill
Total Playtime: 38 minutes, 42 seconds




Rating: 7.0/10







When it comes down to it, thrash metal is a hard genre to make it in now and days with the plethora of critics and fans alike claiming how overdone the genre has become. Many will agree with this statement given the recent onslaught of old school thrash metal revival versus the over-produced sound that the new tidal wave making its way inland boasts, all the while old school death metal is being lapped up like the last supply of water on the planet. Toxic Waltz are a fairly new entrant to the thrash world, having just formed in 2009 and issued their first release, a debut full-length nonetheless, Decades of Pain this past January. Does this album rival surrounding titles of the same genre and time frame?

The album begins with a soothing acoustic instrumental track that quickly bridges into a harmonious lead section in the next song. One of the first things that the listener will notice almost immediately is the high production quality tied to this release, which is surprising for not only an unsigned band but also for their first release. This is an applaudable endeavor that can be seen as either beneficial or detrimental to the success of the surrounding content. Wistfully, both guitars lack a decent distortion factor that could've been less noticeable had the material not been quite as crystal clear and as well the drum idiophones can become distracting occasionally, such as in "World of Hate".


The bass guitar provides an excellent exoskeleton to the present material, surrounding the treble based rhythm and lead guitars with a subtle thumping undertone that ties the drum beats to the rhythm guitar. These three instruments work in unison to gracefully cause tempo changes mid-song and all three fundamentals tie the beats together wonderfully. Overall the drums have a great range of palpitations and beat changes throughout the near forty-minute album, each change bringing out the best in the rather bland sounding rhythm guitar chords, such as in "Toxic Hell"; this track also gives the drums a booming bass drum during small guitar rests. Time and again the deep tom-toms assert themselves, bringing a much needed depth to the shallow compositions. This point of the album is also about as aggressive as the music becomes.

Truly, Toxic Waltz put on a decent performance on Decades of Pain, however both guitars fall short of anything outstanding within the material due to a couple of factors. The aforementioned issue that presents itself immediately is the lack of any interesting distortion tones; the lead guitar is a notch below being fully clean while the rhythm guitar is two notches below. Secondly, there isn't a whole lot in the way of "energy" that is conveyed across the content. The solos are rather melodic and skillful, they would present themselves more provocatively to the listener if given a new tone, in fact the solo in "Suicide Squad" is downright admirable ...but unfortunately plain. The rhythm guitar doesn't have many tricks up it's sleeve either, with mostly a palette of palm muted power chords and one-string bridges. The vocals are well done with a good mix of deep death metal growls and semi-shrill thrash shrieks; the main vocals are also backed by chants at time, as per typical thrash standards.

Decades of Pain seems to lose it's strength at the seventh track, "Morbid Symphony", and unfortunately fails to recover after this point; it would've been more beneficial for Toxic Waltz to discard the final three songs and shave almost ten minutes off of their record. The guitar tones need major improvement, but everything else here is pretty solid. The compositions are pretty decent, but again there is nothing that really screams energy or excitement in this release and typically that's a big turn off for thrash enthusiasts.

Physical Copy Provided by: Metal Message

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