It would probably not be too unfair to say that Lobotomized is not overloaded with rich originality, though it has plenty of flavoursome exploits which stand out, but when it rocks like a barbarian smelling blood, which is most of the time, the debut album from Greek thrashers Biotoxic Warfare is one fiercely enjoyable and invigorating incitement. Wearing many of their inspirations on their sleeve, Slayer and Kreator more obvious ones, Biotoxic Warfare create the kind of hostility their name hints at but also weave in some juicy sonic imagination and temptation to ensure that every song within their first album offers unpredictability as well as spicy familiarity. The result is a compelling and thoroughly pleasing rampage to heartily recommend.
Hailing from Heraklion in Crete, Biotoxic Warfare began in 2012, drawing on the European and American thrash metal scene as well as the roots of the genre to create and hone their own ideation and sound. Making a potent impression on the Crete and Athens live scene soon after, the band released the Baptized In Blood And Greed EP in the April of 2013, its fury earning good reviews around the metal media. Live the band equally flourished, earning a potent reputation as they proceeded to support bands such as Suicidal Angels and Enforcer. 2014 saw the current line-up of vocalist Mike Kavalos, lead guitarist George Dimitrakakis, rhythm guitarist Stelios Sfendilakis, bassist Panagiotis Polioudakis, and drummer Orestis Drapaniotis in place and the recording of the band’s Vaggelis Theodorakis (Revolted Masses) mixed and mastered debut album.
Lobotomized quickly works on ears and imagination with its opening instrumental Mors Indecepta. The piece is a swift scene setter, its prowling almost lumbering body dragging portentous hues around as rhythms crawl slowly and intimidatingly through ears. At the same time guitars spin an evocative web of sonic expression until it all comes to a point where it all erupts into a predatory incitement of ears and imagination. The track does not make an instant dramatic persuasion, even as it increases its weight and intensity minute by minute, but over listens becomes a rich and potent introduction. Its transition into Proclaim The Gospel Of Lies is not as fluid as one would wish but quickly forgotten as the second track from a demonic declaration, sends forth riffs and rhythms clad with brutal rabidity, though they quickly become entangled with highly alluring grooves. The track is soon really storming the barricades, its riffs almost punk like and its slithers of grooves pure tangy acidity around the caustic growling of Kavalos. There is familiarity to its hooks and driving riffery yet not of sources or styles expected which adds to the intrigue and fun, as does the slip into dark cavernous, almost doomy terrain.
The song is sheer anthemic magnetism but equipped with expectations throwing exploits and imagination that makes song and band something fresh, a characteristic exploited again in Baptized In Blood And Greed. Again a bestial prowl is the springboard to furious and anthemic tenacity from all areas of the band, the bass a primal invitation as thick and potent as the fiery endeavour of the guitars. Another inescapably rousing conflict, the song makes way for the darker saunter of Dsyphoric Reality. Well its entrance is a deliberate stroll; the rest of its torrential offering is soon after an unbridled and carnivorous trespass of ears and pleasure. As in most songs, an ever twisting gait breeds a compelling and contagious swagger around which the craft of both guitarists shine with their individual creative flaming, the bass on its own agenda to prey on the passions with a rabid snarl and addictive rancor.
Drapaniotis is a perpetual magnet and provocateur with his inventive and constantly evolving swings, as proven once again in the album’s title track, though he has to hold back whilst the song makes a mouth-watering and melodically charming entrance. The itch to uncage energy and antagonism is soon inescapable and drummer, band, and song are soon descending on ears and appetite with a tempest of rabid rhythms and ravenous riffs guided by the ever raw and enjoyable hostility of Kavalos, potently backed vocally by Dimitrakakis. It is the rolling contagion and spicy slithers of sonic invention which steal the show though with the virulence of the song pure slavery as too, as indeed the ingenuity of the guitars in setting off kilter almost post-punk like sparks to the outstanding encounter.
The gripping savagery of Lust For Hate is next, bringing more of the similarity between the surface actions of some songs within Lobotomized but quickly spearing and defusing it with its own imaginative and searing tapestry of sonic colour. Not quite matching previous songs, it leaves ears and satisfaction enjoyably full before Parasitic Life and finally As We Rot (Promises of Heaven) bring the album to a thunderous close. The first of the pair is waspish in its grooving, a tasty and welcome irritant leading into the warfare of the song and returning with regular invention and success whilst the track breeds even broader rhythmic and infectious shoulders for the guitars to blaze from. It is a scintillating proposal matched by its successor, the album closer a tsunami of intensity and barbarism within a whirlpool of unforgiving energy and twisting enterprise, and quite irresistible.
As suggested there is plenty to find yourself familiar with in Lobotomized but it does not stop the album throwing up one of the most invigorating and enjoyable metal releases this year. Biotoxic Warfare is thrash metal embracing the old and new whilst infusing its own spice of character and imagination. This might not rank as your best metal album of 2015 but it just could be your favourite thrash encounter.
Lobotomized is available now via Slaney Records and @ https://biotoxicwarfare.bandcamp.com/album/lobotomized