Crossover thrash was my first true love in terms of transitioning from hardcore punk obsessive teenager to hilariously dedicated metal fan. Bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Cryptic Slaughter, D.R.I. and Crumbsuckers changed my mind about metal and opened up an insanely huge world to me. Truth be told as much as I love the pomp, darkness and cheese of extreme metal my soul-binding nostalgic ties are to the type of music bands like Power Trip, Iron Reagan and Toxic Shock are turning out. Though Power Trip nails the energy and beefy slam of thrash metal while modernizing the sound, and Iron Reagan puts out what is basically the most slick and polished crossover ever. Where does Toxic Shock fit in? Well their production is more roughened, and their sound leans more hardcore punk in the same way that ‘Join the Army’ and ‘Life of Dreams’ did.
No, hey, wait before you click off somewhere else! It’s not just another retro thrashcore band making stupid substance-free music. Toxic Shock don’t just piss out random hardcore riffs and throw in a few metal solos and call it an album, these guys have an edge on just about every other band out there today with their songwriting ability. The true test of any punk rock or heavy metal combination isn’t getting the sound or production right, it is straight up songwriting and these guys are amazing. “Iceberg” is an anthem straight out of a late 80’s D.R.I. album and kicks off record that calls the planet out on it’s bullshit from start to finish. “Immobilized & Paralyzed” recalls the best of ‘How Will I Laugh Tomorrow…’ era of Suicidal Tendencies sans Muir’s feigned street cred lyrics. “Evil Presence” pulls of a sort of a early 90’s Poison Idea meets Excel sort of thing that throws me into a nerd frenzy every time I hear it. The quality of ‘Twentylastcentury’ never dips or fucks up across 38 minutes, in fact the amount of variety and personality on display makes it hard to believe this isn’t lifted directly from 1987.
It is disappointing that I didn’t get around to this album until December because I’ve already drafted my best of 2017 and could only really squeeze this into number 44. While I don’t plan on editing the piece this has grown on me so much in the last few weeks that I could easily see this in the top fifteen best for the year. As ‘right’ as I thought other modern crossover bands ‘get’ this style and its core appeal Toxic Shock absolutely does it better than everyone else without sounding like a tired-ass retro band. Every song is a banger and, though I hate to have to use the term, there are some of the years most serious ear-worms on this record.
|Released||October 11, 2017|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Toxic Shock on Facebook|
In the end I will melt. 4.25/5.0
#44 on Best of 2017 List: Click HERE to see the rest!
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