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Toxic Holocaust - Chemistry of Consciousness

MetalSucks contributor Emperor Rhombus opened his official review of Toxic Holocaust’s latest banger Chemistry of Consciousness thusly:

Reviewing any Toxic Holocaust album feels a little like reviewing their entire discography, mainly because the band plays basically the same vicious, unrelenting thrash metal that mastermind Joel Grind laid down on their 2003 debut full-length Evil Never Dies. While production value, tone, and even tempo have shifted slightly in the past decade, the band’s sound has retained its scum-cum-Sodom sound and its Heavy Metal Magazine themes of 1980s-style dystopia, black magic, violent murder, and of course, nuclear war. As such, I’m not sure Toxic Holocaust’s fourth album, Chemistry of Consciousness is a massive, audience-expanding album for Portland’s fastest export. But if you’re a fan of the genre, will you like this record? Shit yeah. You’ll fucking love it.

For the most part I agree with what he’s saying and for the most part I agree with his review as a whole. I’m gonna throw a wrench in his claim about production value, though; I’d argue that it’s changed a ton in the past decade, and, for me at least, that change has made all the difference. I’ll chalk it up to Kurt Ballou’s mixing job here, which sounds positively fantastic; it’s big and clear but it’s also raw and punk rock, as is Ballou’s trademark balance. I’ve never really been able to get into Toxic Holocaust before (had nothing against them, just couldn’t super dig on it) but Ballou’s mixing on this records casts the band in a whole new light. It’s like stumbling through life for years thinking your vision was alright, then trying on a friend’s glasses as a joke one day and realizing HOLY SHIT, I can actually SEE now! Ballou provides the glasses and now I can see: Toxic Holocaust are the shit.

Don’t take my word for it, though: listen to the entire album below. Chemistry of Consciousness comes out on October 29th via Relapse Records; order it here. Toxic Holocaust go on tour with Ramming Speed and In Defence in November; get dates here.

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