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Playing very aggressive and upfront thrash, Toxic Trace’s “Slaughter” demo is what to be expected from modern thrash metal. Churning guitar riffs that growl as much as they wail, thunderous bass kicking and crisp snare cracks that go over the top of the sound, and fast merciless screamed vocals that compliment the force of the instruments.
Production-wise, this demo sounds really rough but this harshness adds to the ugliness of the music well. The guitars are tuned much higher than the bass end of the mix which makes each song sound as though it’s swimming in reverb, even the double bass pedals are nearly inaudible. The cymbals are overshadowed by the treble sound, and the only consistent sound in the rhythm section is the finely tuned and somewhat tinny snare drum. The bass guitar can only be heard filling in breaks here and there like in the title track, but the excruciating sickness of the music makes the production tolerable.
Great riffs permeate this demo in every song. “The Antichrist” features an excellent calmed down section accompanied by barely audible guitar solos that kicks into an intense surge flattering the incoming vocals. “Tormenter” also hinges on some good, slow riffing in its opening that rounds out the drum cycles well when they combine to burst into the expected wild thrash onrush of notes. The only problem is that the solos just aren’t loud enough in the mix. The guitars sound great until a solo comes up, and then the lead covers the solo over making it nearly inaudible.
The drumming is what’s to be expected from thrash drumming. Fast, straightforward, and deviating with snare rolls at the end of cycles, it does the job but doesn’t bring anything really new to the table. There are few fills and only one large kit roll in the opening of “The Antichrist”. The cymbals are nonexistent in the last three tracks, overshadowed by the lead guitar’s sound, but the aggression of the snare and bass pedals still give strong grounding to the guitars in “Slaughter” and “Witch from Hell”.
Despite the hindrance of poor production, the band is cohesive and tight not missing a step and showing great attitude with some take-no-prisoners aggression. For a first demo, this is some pretty good thrash and Toxic Trace immediately shows their aims as a new band playing and old school sound, albeit somewhat cliché in song titles.