CD Review: “Primal Future: 2019” by Toxic Holocaust

Joel Grind’s one man thrashing project Toxic Holocaust has returned to lay waste to the band with devastating d-beat and bellicose, thrashing riffs on album six, Primal Future: 2019. Album opener “Chemical Warlords” is a vicious track that is equal parts Discharge and Carnivore. Grind harshly shrieks about a ravenous horde with the simple goal of annihilating everything in their wake. “Black Out The Code” continues the assault initiated by “Warlords,” with its pummeling drums and faster tempos. The chaotic, yet bluesy guitar lead heightens the intensity of this track. “Deafened By The Roar” is the shortest track on the record, 90 seconds of head banging hardcore and nothing less. A short burst energy to that segues in to the album’s second half. “Time’s Edge” is notable for its slicing riffs and catchy chorus over relentless percussion. The title track is a galloping mid tempo beast that feels like a cyborg unleashed on humanity. There is a nice transition towards the final third of the song that things to a battered conclusion. “Controlled By Fear” has a suppressed feeling throughout the track’s duration, which compliments the song title. This submissive attitude is broken on the following track “Aftermath” which is full on thrash with lumbering riffs and Joel’s signature gruff vocals. Album closer “Cybernetic War” is somewhat primitive and slightly disjointed, accentuating the lyrics of nuclear war. There is a haze of shock and confusion on this track with wayward sounding riffs and a creepy robotic effect at the song’s end. Humanity better shape up.

Primal Future: 2019 is 39 minutes of crossover thrash played right. The resurgence of traditional metal’s popularity has unfortunately lead to a heap of mediocre albums that fail to capture the spirit of crossover and trash. Luckily Joel Grind is back to show the new generation how it is done. There are riffs a plenty and fast paced drums, however there is a depth of complexity to it all. Crossover is noted as the intersection of hardcore and thrash. The music was fast, but not overly technical, precise yet a bit sloppy. Joel captures those elusive elements on Primal with successful results.

Fans of Toxic Holocaust will enjoy Primal Future as it is certainly worth the wait. Over half the tracks on this album are great additions to the band’s set list. Fans of thrash and crossover should also check out this album for a dose of apocalyptic headbanging fun. The future may be dim, but Toxic Holocaust provides the perfect soundtrack to mankind’s demise.

Check out Joel Grind’s official website:

http://joelgrind.com/

CD Review: “Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume” by Integrity

Darkness abounds on Integrity’s ninth release, Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume. The trio conjures imagery of black magic and devilry over a serrated blend of hardcore and metal. “Blood Sermon” morphs from black metal to d-beat throughout the song’s three minute duration. Equal parts Darkthrone and Discharge, the track provides a glimpse of the album’s sound. The Slayer-esque “Hymn For The Children Of The Black Flame” is speedfest with hacksaw guitars and dissonant guitar leads. It is a short, but relentless track that packs a punch. Things come to a gloomy halt towards the middle of the record. “Serpent At The Crossroads” and “Unholy Salvation Of The Sabbatai Zevi” are slow, crunching dirges with melancholy, sinuous riffs. The classical guitar leads provide the perfect contrast to the downbeat mood on these tracks. There is a gothic beauty here, especially on “Unholy Salvation.” The band takes the swampy riffs of Autopsy and combines it with Gothenburg inspired leads. “String Up My Teeth” is a mid-tempo rocker more in tune with Motorhead or 80s rock. However, it fits on the album and has a nice bluesy solo.

Integrity take risks on Howling, which makes it a good record. Bands have mixed hardcore and metal for over 30 years now. However, Integrity take things further by blending thrash, doom, hardcore and black metal on 11 tracks. It manages to not sound disjointed and still retains a degree of complexity to it. The crunchy production is a highlight as it encapsulates the dark and menacing tone of the music. It is not muffled or tinny as the instruments blare from the stereo.

Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume, is a dark but fun record that show Integrity can hang with the young guns. Last year, Integrity’s label mates Ringworm released Snake Church, which has a sound similar to Howling. It makes one wonder if Integrity heard that record and had a creative spark, or wanted to fire back. Regardless, the band sounds great on here and has not lost its edge in its 29 year career. The music on this record is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Check out the band’s Facebook page for news and tour dates:

https://www.facebook.com/INTEGRITY.HT/