Review Summary: Throwback thrash done right!
Using the phrase “Nostalgia’s a bitch!” to sum up this album would be a pretty accurate description of what Toxic Holocaust are all about. You see, Joel Grind, founder and main songwriter of Toxic Holocaust (also recruiting drummer Donny Paycheck of Zeke fame), seems to be stuck in the 80s during a time when thrash metal was ever so popular and pumping out such classics as Reign in Blood
, Bonded by Blood
, Beneath the Remains
and Speak English or Die
(obviously skimming the surface considering there were so many great albums that came from that era). While some of you have already passed this band off as just another ‘trip-down-memory-lane’ thrash knockoff, be warned that Joel Grind brings the goods and has enough conviction backing up his music to make you feel like it’s the Bay Area metal scene all over again.
An Overdoes of Death…
is not only a sweetly polished affair of riff rocking thrash metal, Grind also incorporates many elements of death’n roll and a touch of blackened death metal for good measure. Other noteworthy inclusions contained on this disc are a number of other well-done nostalgic elements including some short, wankery bursts of Kerry King inspired soloing, Judas Priest Painkiller
era melodic riffs, the snare/bass/ snare/ bass drum beats commonly used in the genre, and finished off with that gritty attitude that makes this music sound so genuine. All of the songs contained on An Overdoes of Death…
flow well together as a whole, having an identical feel to each song. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, seeing as this is thrash we are talking about. However, each song has something subtle to it that sets itself apart from the one before it, adding these above-mentioned elements in small doses and making An Overdoes of Death…
not as straight up as you would expect.
As well as being a nostalgic thrash nutball, Grind is also quite capable of pinning the perfect vocal delivery and lyrical approach to his gritty thrash attack. Through his raspy, well-developed screams, Grind paints a picture of a post-apocalyptic, nightmarish world that entails downright ridiculous lyrics and satirical black humour, setting this album apart from the numerous thrash bands that have been popping up all over the place. A rather hilarious example of the lyrics are taken from the song ‘War is Hell’:
Hear the air raid sirens that warn you of your death/ Close your eyes, say goodbye, and take your last breath/ Turn this place to rubble, a city turns to ash………….Total ***ing holocaust, everyone’s ***ing dead/ Death and destruction is all you’ll ever know/ Living in the ashes that you once called home
Taking a page or two from Slayer’ lyrical approach and spinning off this was probably one of wisest things Grind could have possibly done in making album that much more real to the scene.
If your not one for thrash metal, this is certainly not going to convince you that thrash metal has something more to offer. On the flip side of the coin, thrash metal enthusiasts, new and old, will most likely eat this thing up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Joel Grind’s Relapse Records debut (it’s worth also mentioning how many throwback bands these guys sign as well), is a contagious and volatile dose of quality thrash metal that may be just what the genre needs to kick start some of these pretenders into shape. A definite highlight for 2008!