Toxic Holocaust – Conjure and Command

Some people will never admit they are wrong and will fight to uphold a mistake long after it makes any sense to do so. Not me though, I can admit when I’m wrong. When the last Toxic Holocaust album “An Overdose of Death…” was released in 2008 a lot of people made a big to do about it. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. In my own defense, when you are someone who is constantly listening to new music looking for the next great thing, you tend to hear a lot of crap. And as such, you tend to have a very short attention span for music that doesn’t immediately grab you in the first minute or so. I try to at least skip around to a few different tracks to make sure the sound is consistent, but sometimes you accidentally pass up something good because you didn’t really hear what you thought you heard. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It’s the nature of the obsessive compulsive music collector.

So after a cursory listen I passed on “An Overdose of Death…”. Yesterday the new album “Conjure and Command” was released. Jonesing for something new I took a chance and bought it on iTunes. Now here I am wiping the egg off my face. This is good music. I even went back and listened to the last album to see if maybe there was just a vast improvement between the two, but no, it was a good album also. I think the sound quality on the new album is improved, but the music itself is just as good. So apologies to Mr. Grind, I stand corrected. Toxic Holocaust is some killer metal.

The music has a very traditional thrash metal sound to it which I just absolutely love. I grew up on this kind of thrash and will always have a special place for it in my cast-iron heart. I can definitely hear some Slayer influence in the music. The vocals remind me of a nice mix between “Extreme Aggression” era Kreator and “Black Metal” era Venom. In fact on the third track, “Bitch”, about a minute into the song is a little part where I swear he was about to burst into “Countess Bathory”. That was when I knew he had me.

I know on past albums Joel Grind recorded all the parts himself and hired musicians for touring. I wonder if he is still working that way or whether this was a full or partial band in the studio. Having formerly in another life been a one-man-band studio guy, I know how difficult it can be to pull together and play all the parts yourself. In my case the result was pretty bad, but in Grind’s the result s have been positive and that makes it even more impressive.

I looked on the Relapse website but didn’t see any dates around here listed. Kinda hoping they will come this way so I can see him do this live. I might even have to put down the camera and come out of pit-retirement for a show.