Friday, August 10, 2007

Toxik - Think This

If you like Queensrych "Operation: Mindcrime", Megadeth, Joey Belladona-Era Anthrax, and decent metal, then you'll love:


This album came out in 1989 for Peekskill, New York "Progressive Thrash" metal band Toxik. The band has the unfortunate distinction of coming out right at the peak (no pun intended) of the metal movement, and this album came out only a year after the like-minded progressive-metal opus that was Queensryche "Operation:Mindcrime". The band, though, has the distinct honor of truly defining "Progressive Thrash Metal", and after hearing this, I pray it comes back!

Right now, I have "Greed" on, and it's tough to focus outside of wanting to air guitar like crazy and headbang like a madman at the front row of a concert! For well over a few months now, this has been one of my favorite albums, and it's strange in large part of the fact that I despised this album at first. So before I go on, let me talk about that first.

Toxik's style is very strange. The album sometimes suffers from the vocals being a bit too high-flying, and the guitars are a bit out of place at times. The album, for the first listen, never sat well with me. At times, the disc seems to suffer from A.D.D., guitars and vocals not falling exactly in place. More than anything, the vocals will either make you love or hate this disc.

But now? It's tough not to love it! The guitar work on this album by Josh Christians is incredibly heavy, nearly even echoing the work of Dimebag's manic attacks that were to take the world by storm in the Pantera! The man shreds like a maniac, and it's a crime that not many people today have heard it! The album seems to tip it's hat to even death and black metal-style blast beats, throwing in an occasional bit of then-classic hair-metal vocal bliss. It is, without a doubt, the type of album that makes you wonder why it never caught on.

The production of the album is not to be dismissed; the entire album feels as if it was being performed in a massive arena. This is thanks largely to their songwriting skills; The band was aiming high and every song seems to be written with the goal of entertaining 10,000 screaming fans every night. A ballad like "There Stood the Fence" plays incredibly well! The various sounds of someone clicking through a television set add even more value to the album, adding to the general concept of the disc.

The concept of this disc? That the world is being controlled more and more by our TV's, and that we re all being brainwashed. Throw in some Regan-Bush era politics, a music scene peaking, and it is impossible not to see how this album is brilliant!

Honestly? I haven't blushed this much writing a review in a long time! Hearing the band rip away at songs like "Black and White", "Spontaneous", and "Shotgun Logic" is incredible! On the flip, "Machine Dream" and "There Stood the Fence" add a nice sense of melody and softness to the disc. "War NJN 8/In God" mixes gods with politics in a delightful stew! Throw in "Think This" and this disc is a masterpiece!

I can't recommend this album enough! It's powerful, it's epic, and for some, it will add a lot of nostalgia as well. The album was re-released by Roadrunner and MetalMind last year on Gold Discs, sold the sound is incredible!

This is a tough one to review, and I'm going to give it a fair rating. As much as I love this disc, the flaws of the vocals and the arrangement of a few songs border between sloppy and experimental, largely on "Technical Arrogance".

9.2 out of 10! The album is a treasure!