Toxic Holocaust - Primal Future: 2019 review

Bandcamp music player

73 users:
Band: Toxic Holocaust
Album: Primal Future: 2019
Release date: October 2019

01. Chemical Warlords
02. Black Out The Code
03. New World Beyond
04. Deafened By The Roar
05. Time's Edge
06. Primal Future
07. Iron Cage
08. Controlled By Fear
09. Aftermath
10. Cybernetic War

Probably one of the best examples of a marmite band, Toxic Holocaust return after a six year absence to either applause or groans depending on which side of the fence you sit. Primal Future: 2019 sees on and off again one-man band Joel Grind re-emerge as a solo artist, yet brings enough ideas that you'd think this record had a full complement of members.

Grind begins to tweak at the foundations of Toxic Holocaust's signature sound; sure it's still easily identifiable as such, but the crossover tendencies are now fed through more complex undiluted thrash. While nowhere a leap to Coroner levels of complexities, compare this record to say Conjure And Command and you can hear some subtle but noticeable differences.

Grind seems to have spent the last six years since the last release stockpiling riffs as his goal appears to be to fill each song to the brim with quality riffs. "New World Beyond", "Iron Cage" and "Aftermath" all benefit greatly from this approach, flowing through different riffs without sounding longwinded, and each passage seems as purposeful as the next rather than just a conduit to the next section.

The peak of this newfound altering of the formula and usage of riffs has to be "Cybernetic War"; while it dials down the outright intensity of old, it compensates through offering up a level of melody that is unexpected and a welcome surprise. Capping off the album, it fades the album out on a high note that will leave fans wanting more.

It is quite hard to judge the musicianship on this album, owing it to be one man playing everything, but for something that has the potential to sound like a jack of all trades, Grind shows a level of mastery that demonstrates his dedication to his music. He excels most at the guitar, crafting several great guitar parts while nailing them with precision. He is a capable drummer and holds down the beat well with the odd flourish here and there. His bass playing skills are hard to judge, for aside from a few moments like on "Aftermath", it blends into the background and it's hard to pinpoint what he is playing, though you can hear its presence in there somewhere.

As with most Toxic Holocaust albums, the vocal shortcomings are once again the weak point. Grind is a decent vocalist no doubt; for the most part his delivery is much the same, with little variation throughout its duration. Had he switched up his approach every so often, it would have benefitted the album (and most of the songs too) to a large extent.

As with many marmite bands, while this album is good if you're already a convert and fan of the band, I doubt it will go a long way in winning over those who dislike Toxic Holocaust already. Their loss is another's gain however, for those who like what the band offer up will find plenty to enjoy on Primal Future: 2019. It's good to hear the band return and bringing along a welcoming home present in the shape of this album, a gift that will see Grind find his fanbase reinvigorated.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written by omne metallum | 01.06.2020


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 18 users
02.06.2020 - 01:16
Nice, we have a review for an album that deserved one and we failed to provide last year. Great riffs, slightly more complex approach, as you say it will not necessarily win new fans for TH, but for the rest of us this is pretty good.
07.06.2020 - 17:36
omne metallum
It was a pleasant surprise I got first crack at it haha
Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
08.06.2020 - 03:14
Troy Killjoy
This was actually one of my favorite thrash releases of the year and the best overall Toxic Holocaust album to date in my opinion. Its retro vibe and gritty production won me over from the start, plus it featured some badass riffs and excellent musicianship. Great job on the writeup.
I have no memory of this place.
18.10.2020 - 18:59
This album is just riffs. Loved it. And as Troy says, the retro vibe fits like a glove with this album.

Hits total: 296 | This month: 24