Eagerly on the heels of the must have From the Ashes of Nuclear Destruction album, a career spanning retrospective covering Toxic Holocaust rarities from the past decade, as well as The Yellowgoat Sessions from the excellent solo project release from TH founder Joel Grind, the band unleash new album Chemistry of Consciousness. It is a rampaging beast of an album, a brutal tempest of punk edged thrash and rabid rock n’ roll which comes with the expected and richly familiar Toxic Holocaust stamp but also sneaks in a vein of contagion and addictive toxicity to move the release apart from previously albums and maybe more importantly the outstanding Conjure and Command yet still easily sitting within the distinctive, arguably expectations feeding course of the band. It is fair to say there is nothing ground breaking from the album for adrenaline fuelled metal but just as potently it provides one exhaustingly exhilarating and irresistible confrontation you will never tire of.
The Portland punk metallers as always are open with their inspirations, essences of the likes of Bathory, Venom, Slayer, Municipal Waste, GBH and more the additive to their own brew of creative petrol powering an explosive aggressive vehicle, in this case the raucously confronting Relapse Records released Chemistry Of Consciousness. The Kurt Ballou (Converge) mixed album has little need for niceties with opener Awaken The Serpent bitch slapping the ears with rolling rhythms, predation clad riffing, and the ever caustic tones of Grind scarring air and senses form its first breath. The addictive groove which swaggers throughout brings further temptation, showing that earlier mentioned intensive infectiousness to the uncompromising bait offered whilst the rhythmic assault of bassist Phil Zeller and drummer Nick Bellmore helps sculpt an enslavement which only Toxic Holocaust seems able to cast.
It is a senses stunning start soon taken further by the excellent Silence, the track a rapacious nagging of Grind’s guitar riffery and the inventive rhythmic antagonism. A heavy metal flame is ever present across the song, a heat which explodes through incendiary sonic enterprise in the brief solo and the continually teasing melodic invention of the track. It is a refreshing and vibrant attack firmly backed up by the mighty Rat Eater. Opening with compelling, prowling intensity and rabidity, the guitar chugging purposely alongside similarly cagey rhythms, the track builds up a fiery and intimidating presence before throwing off any shackles to stomp rigorously through the ears with acidic sonic scythes and punishing rhythms behind squally gravelly vocals igniting further the already in place hunger.
Salvation Is Waiting explodes with the same stance and power as its predecessor at the start, the track like many upon the album closely related in structure and intensity to others but inserting imaginative and in this case torrential outpourings of striking enterprise and riveting twists. The mix of familiar and new continues as a tsunami of unbridled rhythmic provocation marks out next up Out Of The Fire, a voracious crafting ripe within a sonic causticity which breeds greater appetite for the evolving cantankerous adventure and power that is Chemistry of Consciousness whilst the excellent Acid Fuzz simple provides another pinnacle for the release. With a fire of melodic metal and cataclysmic rhythms driving the song instantly into the passions as spirals of sonic addictiveness and Grind’s scowling delivery not ignoring his appetite filling guitar flumes turn the track magnetic, the encounter strides forth as a thrilling blaze of heavy metal sculpted thrash.
Every track is a lingering gem upon the album, very few striking up the turf of new pastures admittedly but all revitalising well-worn destruction littered fields, the likes of the carnivorously honed Deny The Truth and the punishing Mkultra continuing the persistently satisfying presence of the album whilst songs such as I Serve… and International Conspiracy almost bruise the listener into willing submission whilst feeding all thrash metal wants with that Toxic Holocaust individuality.
The album finishes with the exceptional title track, a song which certainly bids for top honours and maybe steals it with its rhythmic ravaging of the ear and savage riffery guided by the constantly combative delivery of Grind. It is a compelling brawl of a conclusion to a typical yet ridiculously satisfying Toxic Holocaust album. Chemistry of Consciousness may not quite be the album of the year in the cold light of day but without doubt it is one of the most enjoyable and arousing to cross our thrash lit paths.
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