Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry of Consciousness (Relapse)

Sunday, 27th October 2013
Rating: 7/10

Getting rather close to being able to trick folks by releasing the same album just with a different cover, Portland thrash punks Toxic Holocaust (i.e. Joel Grind) have this sub-segment by the balls at the present time, probably because there’s no better option. We’ll certainly vouch for the back alley thrash of An Overdose of Death…and even 2011’s Conjure and Command, yet Toxic Holocaust don’t present much in the way of new ideas on Chemistry of Consciousness. It’s basically a matter of skimming off the top of what they’ve done before, making sure the polka-beat is in check, the DRI pins are noticeable, and bam, instant cred.

Self-recorded by the band, then handed over to Kurt Ballou of Converge to mix, Chemistry of Consciousness certainly has the harder crossover thrash sound down…just like its predecessors. Opening with the proverbial rouser/call-to-arms, “Silence,” Grind and pals again, revel in the more simplistic aspects of t(r)ash, so be on the lookout for clips from Kill ‘Em All or Bonded by Blood. “Awaken the Serpent” has some legitimate venom to it and is probably the best song of the lot, followed closely by “Salvation is Waiting,” which emerges as one of the more manic and frantic numbers the band has put together.

The band is able to keep this up for 11 songs and 28 minutes, so step right up, you blokes with short attention spans and the need for easy, PBR-soiled riffs, and d-beats all over the place. Too bad the mosh-a-rama plunge of “Out of the Fire” comes at the album’s halfway mark, for DR was prepared to write this off as being more one-dimensional than what it was. That’s what the remainder of the album is for. Consider the 7/10 to be generous.

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