Toxic Holocaust
Primal Future: 2019

If you have ever been out to dinner with Toxic Holocaust, you know what to expect from the band’s sixth full-length album, Primal Future: 2019. While Toxic Holocaust releases have never been the Wolfgang Puck or Gordon Ramsay of thrash metal, they are far from being the local McDonald’s brand of drivel that barely satisfies, much less brings something good to the table. Instead T.H. Have always been more akin to that well known, and usually well loved, hometown diner that provides a damn decent quality product with a warmth and familiarity that tends to keep you coming back for more. Though that’s the tricky thing about T.H., if you’ve only ever had a taste for the choicest of 5 star quality, then the band and their Venom-y, Sodom-y, punky and grimy thrash entrées may seem quite safe and maybe even bland; whereas if any ‘ol processed, dime a dozen thrash platter gets you excited, then Toxic Holocaust is going to seem as a seven course meal to your deserted island appetite.

Album opener, “Chemical Warlords” hits the ground running, doing a fantastic job, not only at getting the thrash blood pumping, but in setting up the tone and pace for the rest of the album as well. It’s the classic sneering, “Fuck you! Get out of my way !” thrash metal that T.H. is known for, and it hits just right. The 1:56 mark brings a nice change up/breakdown that adds a fresh flow to the track, with the accompanying vocal shift adding a nice and effective flair. Another quality old-school change up comes about at the 3:53, providing a bit of straight up rocking out before eventually fading as a whole. Just being a few seconds shy of the five minute mark, “Chemical Warlords” is one of the longest tracks ever penned by the band, a.ka. Joel Grind. In fact Primal Future: 2019 is the longest running LP by the band yet, clocking in at 39 minutes. Honestly, I think this added meat on the bone to more than ¾ ‘s of the album’s tracks is what helps make PF:2019 so strong. The songs are not just longer but are successfully more engaging and even more memorable because of this.

Don’t get me wrong though, while longer yes, and even somewhat streamlined, if that makes sense, this is still the energy filled, raucous and raw, punk influenced crossover thrash that we’ve come to know and love from Mr. Grind. Simply put, you know what you’re going to get with T.H. and PF:2019, and when it’s this satisfying, and every track offers some kind of enjoyable rocking out/headbang-able moment, thats A-fucking-OK. From the Megadeth inspired change up at the 3:12 in “Black Out the Code”, to the driving mid-tempo riffage of “New World Beyond”, or the double time break within the futuristic foretelling of the album’s title track, Primal Future: 2019 delivers. And for those that love the band’s older, shorter, and even punkier days, the album throws in a nice pair of quick, in-and-out, barn burners in the form of “Deafened by the Roar” and “Controlled by Fear”, just for good measure. While I definitely enjoy all of PF:2019, album closer, “Cybernetic War”, is probably my favorite track and arguably the album highlight. Clocking in at five minutes and twenty-eight seconds, it’s easily the band’s longest track ever and brings quite a nice midpaced galloping pummel á la Iron Maiden or even Running Wild, mixed with a fist pumping anthemic I/Abbath-ish vibe (probably why I dig it so much).

There’s not much I can really find to gripe about when it comes to this release. The production seems a tad bit dry and even scooped, but overall it still sounds clear and powerful. I guess my only real quip is that Joel mispronounces the word facade in the lyrics of “Time’s Edge”. A massively superficial thing to bring up in a review, I know, but when the line “You are the one chosen in this facade”, is sung multiple times and each time the word gets pronounced as “fa-caid”, it kind of makes you wonder if anyone at the management and/or label end of things is paying enough attention. Normally, a producer, mixer, and/or engineer would notice these things, not to mention fellow bandmates, but when you write all the material and perform all the instrumentation yourself, as well as record, mix, and master the album, the little “typos”, so-to-speak, are easy to get overlooked.

Having said that, I really do have to commend Joel for maintaining the whole band vibe of the previous two albums. Sometimes writing and recording as a one-man band can be the most limiting thing for an artist, but Mr. Grind handles that, as always, quite impeccably. Take all of this and wrap it up in a Road Warrior meets Blade Runner, meets Miami Vice album cover, as well as a full vinyl size foldout cover/lyric sheet, and an apocalyptic, death and survival, Mad Max-ian and Terminator influenced lyrical content, and Primal Future: 2019 becomes quite a nice little package of thrashing extremity to compliment your pumpkin-spiced whatnots this fall, or whatever…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
November 29th, 2019

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