Review Summary: Conjure And Command contains everything you can possibly want in a 21st century thrash metal recordConjure And Command
marks the first time Joel Grind has trusted some of his comrades enough to record a Toxic Holocaust album along with them and, for whatever reason, it turned out as the band’s best album to date. Grind has pumped out solid thrash records under the Toxic Holocaust moniker for a decade now, handling all songwriting and instrumental business himself, but he hadn’t made a true breakthrough before Conjure And Command
. I’m not talking about a breakthrough in success, because both Evil Never Dies
and An Overdose of Death...
were excellent, infectious throwback thrash records that firmly set Toxic Holocaust's name atop the modern thrash scene; I’m talking about a breakthrough that directly sets a group apart from its peers – something that forces us to look back on the ’80s and drool over the classic albums made then by bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Kreator and Sepultura. While Grind hasn’t reinvented the musical wheel here, he has worked Toxic Holocaust's sound to a level where you can call Conjure And Command
a landmark thrash record.
On Conjure And Command
, Grind isn’t doing anything drastically different when compared to Toxic Holocaust’s prior recordings, but everything, and I mean literally everything, has been tightened up, fleshed out, expanded on. All the kinks have been worked out and every excessive detail is gone. Conjure And Command
still gives the listener 30+ minutes worth of fun throwback thrash with some death ’n’ roll thrown in for good measure, but everything sounds nigh perfect this time around - a first time for Toxic Holocaust. Deadly-sharp riffs coupled with Grind’s designed-for-thrash vocals have always been the definite main draw of Toxic Holocaust and yet they have been kicked up a notch on Conjure And Command
. With Phil Zeller handling the bass duties and Nick Bellmore pounding behind the drums this time, Grind had more time and space to concentrate on writing the perfect riffs whilst giving his best possible vocal performance, and it shows. The riffs are twice as memorable and in-your-face as on any other Toxic Holocaust album; similarly, Grind barks and rasps through the ten tracks on offer like never before (I swear to satan that there’s +1 evil in his voice on this album). The backing crew also hold their own, as Bellmore is, while still mainly holding on to the classic snare-bass-snare-bass style with short burst of double-bass, more dynamic behind the drums than Grind was and at times you can also hear Zeller's rumbling basslines, even if they are few and far between.
It is the sublime songwriting though that really puts Conjure And Command
over the top. Every rhythm change, riff progression, vocal line, double-bass burst, solo, et cetera just flows so well and plain clicks on this album. Everything is perfectly timed and put together, so one has no choice other than to revel in the glory of this impressive metal album. If there is one thing that can be complained about, it’s that the record sounds almost too clean for a thrasher, losing some of that charming dirt and thrash sloppiness, but *** it, when it sounds this impressive and aggressive instrumentally, it doesn't matter. Toxic Holocaust has delivered a true banger with their new cd, don’t try to resist it. Plainly put: Conjure And Command