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From The Ashes Of Nuclear Devastation

Relapse (2013)
Rating: 5/10

For those of you unaware of whom Toxic Holocaust is, well, I’d say that you’re missing out on a minor treat with their fiery brand of revival thrash. Portland, Oregon-based Toxic Holocaust was very much part of the early 2000’s thrash revival, hitting the scene in 2003 with their debut opus Evil Never Dies.

In a sense, what sets Toxic Holocaust apart from a majority of the pretenders is their ability to combine serious blackened thrash with a wealth of knowledge for their influences, rather than leap upon any bandwagon and go with the flow.

This sincerity comes from the blackened heart of founding member Joel Grind who has never been afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve, and so this 22-track compilation – a bulky affair – covering the band’s varying EPs, split sessions etc, is rather predictable if you’ve been a fan of the band since the beginning.

For those all new to this thrash game then I’m sure you’ll find this record a rattling good listen, as Toxic Holocaust quite literally pay homage to every thrash band that made the 80s so exciting and formidable. Kreator, Slayer, Destruction, Venom, Bathory, Sodom, Motörhead, Possessed and numerous crusty old punk bands all feature heavily in those rusty riffs, brisk drums and Grind’s hellish rasps.

Sadly, because all this has been done before, and to far greater effect, Toxic Holocaust, despite their genuine pledge to the armies of Satan, are quite derivative, and I’d recommend that you check out the studio albums of the band before embarking on this compilation. Some of the tracks on offer are rather poorly recorded, while others just seem to melt into one another as one great, faceless thrashing blur, and that pretty much sums up a majority of today’s thrash acts.

The likes of ‘Created To Kill’, ‘Ready To Fight’, ‘Army Of One’, Reaper’s Grave’, ‘Suicide Eye’, ‘Bitch’ and ‘A.T.O.M.I.C.’ seem to be nothing more than the product of teenage angst vomited out to a back drop of primitive guitars and hissy drums. Toxic Holocaust may be high up in the league when it comes to modern day thrash bands, but when compared to the acts they so clearly strive to be like, Joel Grind and company are way, way, way down the pecking order, never once fit enough to lace the boots of Bathory et al, let alone fetch their toilet paper.

However, deep down I appreciate what these guys are doing, but if you want to experience the fleeting flavours of modern day thrash metal, then I’d suggest you steer clear of these sort of compilations, which I always put aside for collectors only.

Neil Arnold

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