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: ‘Mass Confusion’ by Dust Bolt

German thrash outfit Dust Bolt cut to the chase on Mass Confusion. The opening track, “Sick X Brain” is one minute of full on crossover thrash. The blitzkrieg rages on with the title track which starts with chugging riffs before the band launches a thrash onslaught. There are strains of Metallica, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, and Destruction on this track, showing the versatility of the band. The pummeling breakdown in the middle of this song is gold. The initial single, “Allergy” is a frantic riff tornado that that gives the listener little room to breathe. Things get a hectic on “Mind The Gap” with its time signature changes, but drummer Nico Remann keeps it all together. It is one of the more interesting tracks on the record especially with its shredding lead. “Exit” is a somber semi-acoustic number that breaks up the ferocity of the record. It is not filler and prevents the record from sounding monotonous.

Mass Confusion is thrash metal played right. The Teutonic quartet has done its homework, drawing influence from the thrash and hardcore groups of the 80s. Mass Confusion is not too crossover or too thrash and finds a solid median. The musicianship is top notch as guitarists Lenny Breuss and Flo Dehn play well with each other. The duo seamlessly trade riffs and keep a tight rhythm. The album is produced well as there is no clipping and the instruments do not bleed in to one another.

Dust Bolt were not confused when recording Mass Confusion. The band has all its marbles on this, its third record, and plays them well. Mass Confusion is a great thrash/crossover record that is a cut above the current but stale thrash revival scene. The band puts its own unique spin on an older subgenre to good results. Fans of The Haunted, Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust should pick up this record. Dust Bolt bring the speed.

For news and tour dates, check out Dust Bolt’s website: http://dustbolt.com/

Live Review: Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies at The Tabernacle Nov. 22

Featuring photography by Michael Bradley (http://www.rockhousephoto.com)

Opening for Slayer sounds like a daunting task, no doubt, but beloved acts Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies showed little sign of intimidation when they stormed the stage of The Tabernacle in Atlanta. Though it’s a rare occurrence when a tour’s opening acts are as established and adored as the headliners, both groups put on headline-worthy performances of their own.

Exodus, Live at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia.

The evening began with a thrilling performance from Bay Area icons Exodus, whose initial appearance on the fog-laden stage drove the crowd to begin the night’s first floor-wide circle pit. Launching into “Black 13” from the new release Blood In, Blood Out, Exodus used every moment of its half-hour set to illustrate that thrash metal is alive and well. “Toxic Waltz” and “Strike of the Beast” were set highlights during the brief performance, and Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza still has one of the best voices in metal.

Guitarist Gary Holt in particular deserves accolade, as he performed twice in the evening – once with Exodus, and later with Slayer. The virtuoso’s energy never dropped throughout his combined two hours of stage time, and his passion flowed through his solos as he smiled and sang with fans.

Punk-metal crossover act Suicidal Tendencies performed next, meshing infectiously catchy bass lines with chugging riffs. Not unlike Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies is one of the rare groups whose music has steadily improved with time. Though the band’s last effort, 13, was released nearly two years ago, Suicidal Tendencies has remained in the limelight thanks to its consistent touring habits and consistently growing fan base.

Suicidal Tendencies, Live at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia.

Opening with “You Can’t Bring Me Down” from LightsCameraRevolution, Suicidal Tendencies’ set was a whirr of fists and bodies, as the crowd jumped and sang along. But where Exodus and Slayer focused more on aggression, Suicidal Tendencies created an atmosphere of fun and positivity, with Mike ‘Cyco Mike’ Muir offering the microphone to the crowd on several occasions before ultimately moving to the guardrail to join his fans. The set consisted of an eclectic mix of Tendencies tunes, including fan-favorites “Subliminal,” “Possessed to Skate” and “Freedumb” ensuring that every era of the band’s lengthy 30-year career was accounted for.

After witnessing their respective performances, it’s abundantly clear why Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies are regarded as two of the hardest-working and enduring mainstays in metal. Where many similar acts have teetered out over the decades, it’s rare to see a band maintain a sense of relevancy. Yet like their tour mates Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies have stood the test of time due to their tremendous output, and thankfully, there seems to be no end in sight.

 

Full Gallery of Exodus

 

Full Gallery of Suicidal Tendencies