Toxic Holocaust, Conjure and Command
Equal parts Bay Area thrash and New York hardcore
Toxic Holocaust is fundamentally a one-man show; guitarist and vocalist Joel Grind played every instrument from 1999-2008, at which point he signed with Relapse and decided to turn it into a real band. But even with the addition of Rammer’s Phil Zeller on bass and Kingdom of Sorrow’s Nick Bellmore on drums, it’s still very much his band, and his vision. Toxic Holocaust is all about old-school thrash, from the punchy, staccato riffing to the lyrical obsessions. Conjure and Command has songs about burning witches (“Bitch”), songs about hell (“Agony of the Damned”)…you know, the usual stuff. The music that bolsters Grind’s tirades is equal parts Bay Area thrash and New York hardcore, with a meaty guitar sound and powerful drumming. Still, despite the bandleader’s obsessions, Toxic Holocaust somehow comes off less retro, and more universally appealing, than neo-thrashers like Bonded by Blood, Fueled by Fire or Violator.