As the number of metal bands returning after extensive breaks or simply break-ups often decades earlier keeps going up so are the amount of impressive releases emerging from these reunions. Adding to the list and almost heading it is the new EP from US thrashers Toxik. Offering three tracks of the genre in its old school breeding, Breaking Class is everything that is irresistible within thrash metal with a healthy freshness linked to experience that newcomers can only learn from and be inspired by.
Subsequently one of the most potent forces with thrash once emerging in 1985, New York hailing Toxik released a pair of increasingly recognised as classic albums in World Circus (1987) and Think This (1989) as well as built a potent live stature which included sharing stages and touring with the likes of King Diamond, Testament, Dream Theater, Exodus, Pantera, Candlemass and many more. Disbanding in 1982, interest in the band was clearly evident with the release of a pair of live DVDs in 2007 and 2010. Announcing their return three years after the second DVD with Shadows Fall’s Jason Bittner replacing original drummer Tad Leger, Toxik very successfully toured Europe and South America showing the lingering support for the band. Since then the line-up has seen James D’Maria of Generation Kill replacing Bittner and vocalist Charles Sabin (from the band’s second album, Think This) taking over from original frontman Mike Sanders as well as bassist Shane Boulos linking up with band founder and guitarist Josh Christian. It is a unit which seems to be a perfect fit as Breaking Class ravages the senses, an organic roar driving its rapacious sound and intent from the EP’s opening seconds.
Those first moments come courtesy of Stand Up, the track spiralling from an initial sample woven lure with wiry guitar swirling around senses jabbing beats. Straight away instincts for anthemic metal are awoken, vocals a rousing incitement backed by hungry riffs and a brooding bass line which almost dances with an established appetite for its flavours. There is a great Anthrax like tenacity and tone to the track around its chorus but equally a modern crossover essence bringing whiffs of bands such as Suicidal Tendencies and Municipal Waste into play but all spices assimilated in a proposal familiar, new, and distinct to Toxik.
The outstanding start is more than matched by the EP’s title track, Breaking Class a devilish surge of riffs and whipping rhythms fuelled by an energy and devilment just as evident in Sabin’s instinctively persuasive vocals and tenacity. Christian similarly has ears and imagination hooked with his aggressive and inventive web of riffs and sonic enterprise, never allowing the listener to settle without adding a new twist then another then….
As compelling as it is riotous, the track is itself more than matched by the closing Psyop; that healthy brew of flavours within the opener uncaged again within its more predatory climate and gait and again involved in an adventurous and almost challengingly unpredictable proposal. It maybe old school nurtured but the song, as its companions, show that does not mean things have to be restrained in boldness and imagination and they certainly are not in the hands of Toxik.
With hints of a new album in the works, it is as if Toxik has never been away just taking their time to create what is one of the most enjoyable thrash stomps of recent years.
The Breaking Class EP is released August 4th with re-ordering available now @ https://toxik.bandcamp.com/album/breaking-class
Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017
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