Formed in 2009, German outfit Toxic Waltz live and breathe pure metal. With brightly coloured artwork detailing a mass uprising, lyrics demonstrating an unhealthy obsession with war and a clear love of thrash royalty such as Sepultura, Bonded by blood, Destruction and Exodus, what is most impressive about ‘decades of pain’ is that Toxic Waltz have both the musical ability and the song-writing craft to stand tall amidst their peers. Just listen to the ambitious, acoustic introduction to the album, ‘arising pain’, and it is clear that this is a band who appreciate the value of light and shade in their compositions and who already have their sights set on a lengthy career in the metal world.
‘Arising pain’ is but a brief moment of sweet clarity before darkness decends on ‘decades of pain’, a furious thrashing assault best played at volumes liable to aggravate your neighbours. Singer Angelo sounds like a young Burton C. Bell with his rhythmic, guttural delivery but, impressive as his vocals are, it is the twin guitar assault of founding member Jimi and rhythm guitarist Alex that takes the breath away. Add this to Eric Suendermann’s crystal clear production and you instantly have a winner on your hands. Heading into head-banger heaven on ‘world of hate’, Toxic Waltz unleash a huge chugging riff that sets a syrupy pace before suddenly exploding into a full-on, Megadeth-esque blast that will have the mosh-pit heaving. This is thrash as its meant to be – brutal, honest and played with utmost conviction – Toxic Waltz set the heart pounding with their memorable choruses and fiery guitar work, but even here there is light and shade and the band throw in an unexpectedly melodic break that reasserts their excellent musical ability. ‘Toxic Hell’ is a classic in the making with its powerful intro giving way to a brutally percussive blast of nervous energy that does much to demonstrate the excellent drum work of Tim even as the riffs hammer their way straight to the back of your skull.
With Toxic Waltz having gotten firmly under the skin, the album needs to maintain its momentum and, with ‘suicide squad’, it very much does. Opening with the sort of guitar work that made ‘ride the lightening’ and ‘master of puppets’ two classics of the genre, it is clear that Toxic Waltz are not afraid of the epic, although it does not take long for a seething riff of pure metal to come in and muddy the waters. With a fearsome groove that is utterly irresistible Toxic Waltz know how to draw the listener in before springing their trap and before you know it you’re caught in a cyclone of furious bass, relentless percussion and steel-tipped guitars all aimed at sending you to oblivion. ‘Green’ is a short, venomous blast that shows the band were paying attention when Slayer unleashed ‘divine intervention’ and there is little doubt that this song in particular will become one of the mainstays of the band’s live set in years to come. ‘Morbid symphony’ is, if anything, even heavier with its palm-muted opening and unhinged verses characterised by Angelo’s increasingly demonic rasp. ‘Priest of lie’ veers almost into death metal territory with its ghastly roar and exquisitely brutal guitars tearing holes in the fabric of reality. Blistering solos fly out of the mix like sparks from an anvil and its remarkable that the band have not only maintained, but upped the pace of the album. Suddenly you’re at the end as the final song ‘obsession to kill’ marches menacingly into view with its hyper-speed riffing and Tom Araya-aping roar. It’s as if Toxic Waltz took ‘Angel of Death’ and crossbred it with ‘children of a worthless god’ and ‘boot scraper’ to create the ultimate in thrash brutality, and it proves to be the perfect closer to this vicious little bastard of an album.
Despite dire predictions about the future of heavy metal, we live in a time of truly great music with bands such as Gama Bomb, Savage Messiah, Evile and, now, Toxic Waltz all flying the flag for true thrash. This is music that is divorced form the siren song of corporate millions, played exclusively for the musical challenge and the sheer joy of unleashing such menacing tirades and there is no doubt that Toxic Waltz are a product of passion first and foremost. The songs here are world-class blasts of venomous thrash, drawing heavily upon an established template and then sent staggering out into the world with a fistful of dynamite thrust firmly where the sun don’t shine. Should anyone tell you that modern metal is staid and tired, put this beast on and watch as the callow certainty drops immediately away and Toxic Waltz demonstrate unequivocally that metal is alive and kicking with as much force as ever. This is classic thrash updated, expanded and unleashed with a righteous fury that will leave you awe-struck. ‘Decades of pain’ is the aural equivalent of a street brawl – over in a flash with only blood and fragments of tooth left on the road – it leaves you light-headed and pumped full of adrenalin and it commands your attention. There is only one inescapable conclusion – Toxic Waltz are awesome. Essential listening for thrash fans everywhere, ‘decades of pain’ is a blistering debut and one of which the band should be justly proud.
Toxic Waltz proves that Bavaria has more than Blasmusik and Lederhosen. Founded in 2009 by lead guitarist Jimi and drummer Tim in Landsberg, Germany the band line-up was completed very soon with bass player Rahman, guitarist Alex and Angelo on vocals. To have a singer like him in the band is already a big advantage. With his rough and powerful voice he contributes a lot to the sound and the songs of the band. He reminds a lot to the old Bay Area shouters like Chuck Billy. A few times Angelo is even growling.
This, together with the band's name, show also what kind of music they play. The play good ol' thrash metal. Since they have chosen Toxic Waltz as the bands name their sound is obviously influenced by bands like Exodus, but als Dark Angel and the older Metallica.
One of my favorites on the album are the strong title track "Decades of pain". An excellent riff monster with some breaks. Fast parts lead to slower midtempo sections and the other way round. In certain moments I was even reminded to the early Hallows Eve. "Suicide squad" is another favorite. The song starts with a Metallica-like intro before the track becomes a real thrasher with furious leads and soli. Also "Morbid symphony" can convince with lighting-swift soli and a cool groove. Again, the vocals make the difference.
The good thing with the album is the unlimited energy and the passion of the youth. These guys wrote the songs on pure dedication to thrash metal.
The things which can be improved is the variety in the songs. They too often follow the same pattern and a few additional ideas in the songs could make the album even more exciting.
But all in all a good debut and something for all fans of the good old Bay Area thrash. For me a refreshing journey back in time.
Decades of pain
World of hate
Priest of lies
Obsession to kill
Jimi Guitars (lead)
Alex Guitars (rhythm)