Saturday, March 22, 2014

Toxic Waltz - Decades of Pain

"Mid-paced Waltz"

Yet another new thrash metal band pops up in the distance. This time it is Toxic Waltz from Germany, and yes they are named after the legendary Exodus track. The band has been active for quite some time, actually since 2009 but it took them five years to put out their debut material. Will it end up being just another drop in the sea? Let's see.

The album starts out with somewhat of a trend among bands these days - a redundant instrumental intro that doesn't really add anything to the album. The riff in the end carries into the first real track on the album and that is about it. I won't dive into each track that much as it won't really be necessary. Decades of Pain features a modern production, and it doesn't sound that different from other releases coming out at the moment. But I do like the drum production and the overall sound of the drums, except one little strange thing I noticed. Through some passages there's been added some extra reverb to the snare to highlight the drums, and it sounds quite odd to me. Just leave the damn reverb on, let me feel like it's the 80's!

But how well does Toxic Waltz deliver with this debut album? With emphasis on thrash, they barely deliver. In spite of being named after an Exodus song it doesn't feel like they ever listened to Exodus. Decades of Pain is a mid-paced album and after listening to this album I don't feel like I have been thrashed. Not even once. That is my biggest frustration when going through this album; sitting and waiting for the tempo, for the thrashing to begin, but that day never came. Of course, an album doesn't need to be fast to be good, but since there's no tracks that gets stuck and feel memorable it feels more like a decade of boredom. The last song on the album, Obsession to Kill actually builds up to some waltzing, but it does not take long for it to fall back into the mid-pacing and raising my frustration level. Adding the last nail to the coffin, I don't feel like the vocals add anything to the music either. They feel like your average shouting thrash vocalist, even though at the end of a line in the lyrics, the vocals pulls off some awesome shrieks, screams and growling. The vocal style should have leaned more towards those extremes, even though it still doesn't fix the rest of the album.

So where does this leave us? The band has received loads of promotion but I don't see why. There's nothing teutonic about them, nothing bay area, not even new school thrash. The album feels more like a groove/thrash album as it never takes off. When getting a real overlook on this album, the thing I'm left with that I really like is the album cover. To sum that up a bit, if you want a good thrash album added to your collection, find something else. If you want some mid-paced groove/thrash, then this is for you. That brings me back to the question I asked myself in the beginning; will it end up being just another drop in the sea? The answer is yes.