Saturday, July 30, 2011

Toxic Holocaust- Conjure And Command

Retro-thrashers Toxic Holocaust have released their fourth studio album entitled Conjure And Command. And it's good. Really good. In fact, it is one of the best thrash albums released this year. Gone are the somewhat hokey lyrics and somewhat questionable production that every other retro-thrash group has (remember, this is the band that had the underground hit "Nuke The Cross"). In their place frontman and songwriter Joel Grind has placed Venom-inspired lyrics and guitar riffs that sound evil to the core. If this were 1985, Toxic Holocaust would be the PMRC's worst nightmare with song's about witches and executions ("Bitch"), the end of the world ("Judgement Awaits You", "Revelations"), Satan ("I Am Disease"), eating the flesh of dogs ("Agony of The Damned"), and rebellion ("Red Winter"). Not to mention the human sacrifice that is depicted on the front cover.

The first thing that immediately stuck out to me when listening to this album was the excellent production. This album makes the listener want to do one thing: Turn the volume up to 11. I dare anyone to listen to this album quietly. It can't be done. What's more amazing is that this was accomplished, according to the album booklet, with "absolutely no drum replacement, triggering, quantizing, or amp modeling". Pretty impressive for an album that was recorded in the digital era.

The second thing that stuck out to me about this album was the change in sound from Toxic's previous three albums. The band appears to be venturing more into old-school death metal territory as opposed to the thrash that was on their previous efforts. The listener can here Sepultura and Morbid Angel circa Beneath The Remains and Altars of Madness on nearly every song on the disc. Some Venom and a small dose of Bathory can also be spotted here and there.

Lastly, this album has far superior lyrics to other Toxic albums. When frontman Grind growls "We are the left hand, we've bound the right!" You actually believe that he may be serious (Did anyone actually take him seriously with lyrics like "nuke the cross" and "war is fucking hell"?) The third track on the album, "Bitch", actually has an extremely catchy chorus which is hard to believe for music as extreme as this. In no time you'll be pumping your fists in the air and yelling "Tie her up, start the fire, burning in torment alive. For her crimes, for her sins, the bitch will be burned at the stake!"

Anyways, this is an album that fans of old or new school thrash should pick up. This is honestly the best metal album I've heard since Ghost's Opus Eponymous, maybe better. At 32 minutes this album has to get straight to the point. And it does. It takes no prisoners, kicks ass, and leaves enough time to listen to the whole thing all over again.

4.5 out of 5

1. Judgement Awaits You
2. Agony of The Damned
3. Bitch
4. Red Winter
5. Nowhere To Run
6. I Am Disease
7. In The Depths (Of Your Mind)
8. The Liars Are Burning
9. Revelations
10. Sound The Charge

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