Toxic Holocaust – Toxic Thrash Metal 2004 – 70%

Of all current retro type thrash groups, I’ve always found Toxic Holocaust to be decent, but perhaps a bit dull. This compilation was my very first exposure to the band when I picked it up in Chicago in 2007. I immediately found enjoyment in its quick riffs (Metal Attack, Created to Kill) and simple presentation. Inside the booklet was a collage of several pictures of Joel Grind and whatever posse he managed to be around at the time. Although Toxic Holocaust may not be one of the best thrash bands around, I’ve always admired Grind for his D.I.Y. ethics and attitude.

If you listen to this compilation all the way through, it really takes on the feel of an actual album. All of the songs are either taken from various demos, splits, and minor releases of that type, or were previously unreleased. These facts alone make this release essential for someone who really enjoys Toxic Holocaust. For me, it was a pretty good way to get into the band. It is a compilation that really does its job in getting the listener to understand what the band is about.

What the original songs lack in flair and imagination, they more than make up for with spirit, speed and aggression. There are several speed metal breaks (ala Poison Was the Cure) sprinkled throughout the original tracks, which of course rules. Not only can you sense the Megadeth influence greatly, there’s a cover of Mechanix at the end. This cover is probably the worst song on the CD, as it sounds like Joel can’t play all of the notes, or play as fast as Dave.

Oh wait… that sounds a lot like Metallica!

The same goes for Bestial Invasion really. It’s so degraded and sluggish, it’s difficult to tell it’s actually a Destruction song until the familiar Bestial Invasion war cry comes about. At that point, the song’s tempo increases and the guitar playing gets a little bit more complete. As for all the rest of the covers, Onslaught is done pretty well. I actually haven’t heard the original however (Shame on me. I even have a few Onslaught albums!), so I cannot comment on how faithful it is to the original. Judging how close all the other covers I know are, it shouldn’t be too much different. TH’s version of Great Deceiver absolutely rules. This song is probably the most “mature” sounding, if such a word could apply here. The riffs seem to take the technicality notch up just a smidgen. It actually surprises me that he could play this, yet not fully get Mechanix or Bestial Invasion correct. Deathmaster/Metal Attack (the compilation starts off with these songs and a much better production) and Emperor in Hell are 2 rehearsal tracks, and sound quite a bit more raw than the rest of the tracks. The performances are still of the same low/simple level of the rest of the content.

If you’re a big Toxic Holocaust fan, by all means try to pick this up. It’s got plenty of rare and unreleased stuff. If you’re looking to get into Toxic Holocaust, go for it. There’s enough meat and potato content here to let you get to know these sloppy modern thrashers. I thought it was totally worth the $6 I paid for it.

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