Toxik
III Works


4.0
excellent

Review

by DePlazz USER (7 Reviews)
May 4th, 2018 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 3 stages of Toxik's return to form

To call Toxik's III Works box set a compilation is justified only in part. A compilation of different recordings, with various band lineups" Yes. With re-recordings of old material" Yes. With new and unreleased material" Equally and even more so. What the box primarily does, however, is chronicle Toxik's reformation as a band over the past five years, in three sets of recordings that can be listened to individually, but are best appreciated in combination. In the process, it recapitulates and showcases some of the best Toxik - more in particular, main guitarist/writer and driving force Josh Christian - has to offer, anticipating exciting future projects.

Works I represents the long-awaited release of the In Humanity recordings, a number of which had been circulating online in demo versions since 2014. Defining the sound and feel of this disc is a solid vocal performance by Mike 'World Circus' Sanders (matured, but still comfortable with the higher registers) over twisted, low-end riffs with the right amount of dissonance and progressive soloing madness. Too Late, Program Insertion, Crooked Crosses and Subverter make up a quartet of absolutely crushing tracks with a distinctive dark edge. Compositions are as catchy as they are complex; this is Josh Christian tapping into modern prog death/thrash trends, only the result is not generic, and still signature Toxik. These tracks stick. The guitar work is top notch and mind-boggling. Bothering somewhat, maybe, is the minor stylistic gap between the first four tracks and the last two. Title track In Humanity has yet to prove its replay value, while the instrumental Lunacy's Fringe - perhaps intentionally - sounds a bit too experimental and underproduced. Not featured here, strangely enough, is No Rest For The Wicked, a quality track recorded as part of the same In Humanity cycle, and still streaming on Soundcloud in a version with Mike Sanders. It would have made an apt closure to disc 1.

The 3-track Breaking Class EP seemed to turn off many listeners when it was brought out last year. It is included here as Works II, in a remixed and extended version with three added tracks. One may take issue with the choice of Charles Sabin for vocals - a voice that only rarely ventures past safe limits and obviously is no longer up for the peaks it reached on Think This -, as well as with the seemingly more 'mainstream' style and production on the tracks. Compared to In Humanity, the metal definitely sounds slicker and less uncompromising. Listening past first impressions, however, one discovers unexpected layeredness and originality that make for much more than your usual disposable thrash fare. The main groove in Upside Down, for instance, may sound like cloned Pantera at first, but the added licks, riffs and breaks make up a composition with a character all of its own. Psyop is a kickass track. Blistering leads throughout. It’s a different ‘brand’ of Toxik, but the talent remains undeniable. Drummer Jim DeMaria and bassist Shane Boulos put down a more than solid performance. And the lyrics, here as well as on In Humanity, remain as political as ever. The closing instrumental Dreaming In Chrome is a beautiful miniature prog fusion track. As a whole, Breaking Class definitely profits from the added tracks (Anthem, Upside Down, Dreaming In Chrome): the package is more balanced, the flow is more organic.

The first two thirds of the box set will not prepare you for Works III: Kinetic Closure, which is as different from Works I and II as those two are from each other. Featuring the current lineup of the band (Christian on guitars, Boulos on bass, DeMaria on drums) with fresh blood Ron Iglesias on vocal duties, the disc presents a live in studio recording of 8 legacy tracks from World Circus and Think This, with added new(er) tracks Kinetic Closure and No Rest For The Wicked. Production and processing, according to the accompanying note, were kept to a minimum, with 95% of all performances being first takes, bringing ‘the Toxik 2017/18 lineup as raw as we can be using modern recording equipment.’ I am prompted to say, with only the slightest of hesitations, that this disc is amazing. Every track consistently showcases a band that is cohesive, reinvigorated, inspired, and phenomenally tight. The instrumental performance is impressive throughout, the vocals are … well, wow at several points, stellar on the legacy tracks. This is a guy that should stay in the band. (Iglesias, incidentally, is also an accomplished tech thrash guitarist.) And this is a band that definitely sounds ready for more.

In sum, to not bring out this box set, or any of its individual parts, was clearly not an option – not for the band, nor for its fans, nor for metal. In three stages, it conveys the comforting feeling that Toxik is back and, in fact, has never been gone.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DePlazz
May 4th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Kickass band. About time this all came out.

LouBreed
May 4th 2018


36 Comments


Why wouldn't they release the new material as, you know, a regular album. Still better than Watchtower who barely managed to produce an EP or Coroner who are doing godknowswhat and some touring.

Thank you for the review, I was curious about these works

Maco097
May 4th 2018


2986 Comments


Can't wait to download this


RippingCorpse1986
May 4th 2018


3015 Comments


Why wouldn't they release the new material as, you know, a regular album. [2]

Breaking Class was a bit underwhelming and ordinary-sounding for me but I will surely give this one a listen.
Very well written review, have a pos.

ChaoticVortex
May 4th 2018


738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, and even as someone who was a bit letdown by Breaking Class, I really want to get my hands on this just for the In Humanity recordings alone.

DePlazz
May 4th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Why wouldn't they release the new material as, you know, a regular album."

Because each individual set of recordings falls short of a full blown album, and the material as a whole is too heterogeneous. Hence the compilation. But I'm glad they released it as they did.

DePlazz
May 4th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

As for In Humanity, I'm still particularly fond of the Soundcloud playlist: https://soundcloud.com/joshchristian/sets/new-t

DePlazz
May 4th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Very well written review, have a pos."

Thanks!

DePlazz
May 4th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Apparently, this won't be out in the States until June 8th...

TheSonomaDude
May 4th 2018


6748 Comments


Toxik shared this review on their Facebook lmao, nice dude

DePlazz
May 5th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Saw it lol, Toxik ftw

RunOfTheMill
May 5th 2018


3930 Comments


Huh, I was gonna write this one off, but I'm pretty excited to hear this now. Good review dude

DePlazz
May 5th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks Run

DePlazz
June 6th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

One month on and I'm still the only one to have rated this? No one else has heard this? What the fuck's up with this place? Fuck this. Y'all missin out.

Should change after Amazon brings it out on 8th June, hopefully.

Maco097
June 6th 2018


2986 Comments


Can't find a place to download it dude. What you want me to do? Buy it?

DePlazz
June 7th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

That would be an outrageous possibility.

DePlazz
June 7th 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Still, strange that none of this has even leaked to YouTube.

RunOfTheMill
November 2nd 2018


3930 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt4ImMbfc76s-0l4bDsQKfA/videos

The band put it up on Youtube

StrikeOfTheBeast
November 2nd 2018


4783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As a guy who prefers World Circus over Think This, Charlie's contributions are the worst of the three on here imo. Ron's vocals remind me of Charlie in the 80's though. Mike killed it as usual. \m/

Digging: Solitude Aeturnus - Beyond the Crimson Horizon

DePlazz
November 2nd 2018


1332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"The band put it up on YouTube"



As they should have. About time Sput listened to this.





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