Chemistry of Consciousness (Relapse)
By Mike Delano
A down and dirty 30 minutes of pure speed-shot thrash metal, Toxic Holocaust‘s fifth full length, Chemistry of Consciousness, is definitely their best work yet, and the fullest realization of their sound. In the past, it was all too easy to lump TH in with the rest of the come-lately thrash revivalists. Even though they were clearly a cut above their peers, they didn’t have the defining work under their belt to make them really stand out. Until now, of course. The new album is mercilessly aggressive from start to finish, but it’s the great songs and great hooks, not just blunt force, which make it a breakthrough. “Silence” and “Acid Fuzz” are the sound of Motörhead as delivered by the neon zombie punkers of Return of the Living Dead, while “Deny the Truth” and “Rat Eater” refuse to let the album just be a speed frenzy, injecting a little black metal doom and menace into the mix. And about that running time – it’s not because Joel Grind and co. are running short on ideas. Far from it. These songs are like bloated cadavers that were propped up against a leaky barrel of radioactive waste, and now they’ve been eroded down to the bony, essential core. Lean and determined, this is Toxic Holocaust at the top of their game, and if you’re smart, you won’t let your band get booked to play after them the next time they’re in town.