• Toxic Holocaust – Primal Future (Entertainment One) Album Review

    Toxic Holocaust – Primal Future (Entertainment One) Album Review
    Released by: Entertainment One
    Released on: October 4th, 2019.
    Purchase From Amazon

    This latest effort from Portland, Oregon’s Toxic Holocaust (and their first for new label Entertainment One) follows up 2013’a Chemistry Of Consciousness and once again sees founder Joel Grind playing every instrument on the recording.

    The album, which was produced and recorded by Grind himself, opens with Chemical Warlords, a five-minute bomb blast that features some really big riffs right up front from the start. The vocals kick in, Grind’s nasty, gritty voice is as raspy and strained sounding as ever, and we’re off in grand Toxic Holocaust style. It’s got a chorus you can sing along to and is just a superb slice of gritty, thrashy crossover – the kind that the band has made a name for itself with over the last twenty-years.

    The five-minute Black Out The Code follows suit – it’s fast, it’s nasty, it’s Venomous and guttural in its delivery. The themes of the album, a dystopian future ravaged by war unable to be saved by technology, starts to shine through here and the music suits that theme very well. Grind’s vocals are at their most Chronos-esque here, but it really works and there’s some seriously wild guitar soloing here to complement the hooks.

    New World Beyond clocks in at just over four-minutes and features some weird audible effects to start the track out, like a tape being played backwards. That segues into the grinding, driving D.R.I. inspired crossover sound you want from Toxic Holocaust, those riffs shine for a good minute or so before the vocals kick in. This one chugs along really nicely, but once Deafened By The Roar fires up, the brakes have stopped working and the train goes off the rails. This is Toxic Holocaust as their fastest and nastiest, ninety-seconds of unbridled, pissed off fury.

    Time’s Edge, a four-minute blaster, again with a heavy Venom influence that is clearly and intentionally there. At the same time, this track also sees Grind bringing his own spin to things, working in a surprisingly tight solo into the track and, of course, once again delivering some killer riffs. The four-and-a-half-minute title track, Primal Future, opens with some synths and some sound effects, creating an almost John Carpenter-esque mood to start the track off with ominous intent. It’s interesting and it stands out for that reason, but once the mid-tempo thrash guitar smacks you in the head, we return quite quickly to traditional crossover territory. Grind sings here about breaking down religion and faith, his disgust with the human race and the effects of pollution – hey, it’s the end of the world after all – but it gives this one a particularly creepy tone. It’s not as fast or as relentless as some of the other tracks on the record but that doesn’t matter, it’s cool to see him experiment – successfully I might add – with some different ideas while still sticking to the sound you expect from Toxic Holocaust.

    The four-minute Iron Cage shifts things back into high gear, it’s a pretty traditional speed metal thrash attack, righteously angry in sound and in lyrical content. There’s a pretty killer breakdown here around the half way mark that just fucking moshes in the best way possible. Controlled By Fear, on the shorter side at two-and-a-half-minutes, keeps things going, channeling early Metallica in spots, continuing the lyrical trend of singing about the very worst this planet has to offer. It isn’t a very optimistic album, but then, you don’t want that from Toxic Holocaust nor should you expect it.

    Aftermath, the three-minute penultimate track on the record, puts some reverb/echo effects on the vocals that give things a weird sort of eerie sound that complements yet more extreme riffage and serious barbed musical hooks. The album finishes off with Cybernetic War, a five-and-a-half-minute track that details the third world war, the nuclear age, the struggle to control the power grid – all while slaying with some killer guitar work and solid drum work. There’s an Iron Maiden style ‘gallop’ to the track that keeps it catchier than maybe you’d expect it to be but that raw, scuzzy sound remains a big part and it closes the album out rather well, even working in some more odd synth and sound effect work into the closing half-minute.

    Six years was a long time to wait for a new Toxic Holocaust album but the wait was worth it. Crossover fans should consider this essential, as Primal Future offers up ten seriously good slabs of thrash/punk/speed metal sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone with an interest in the genre.