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28 minutes of hell - 73%

Felix 1666, May 3rd, 2019
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Relapse Records

A typical Repka artwork, primitive song patterns and a playtime of less than 28 minutes build the cornerstones of an album which reflects the approach of its spiritual father to more than hundred percent. Toxic Holocaust are totally clear about the way they want to go and mastermind Joel Grind gives a shit about people like me who timidly ask for a minimum of diversity. He has created the entire album single-handedly and therefore its monolithic overall appearance does not come as a big surprise. All songs pummel the listener with aggressive riffs and leads. Grind plays metal but conveys punk vibes due to the primitive , absolutely straight tunes he spits out. Sometimes he seems to be the - very raw - re-incarnation of early Nuclear Assault. Too bad that he does not have this instinct for riffs that last longer than the songs they form. Grind creates an avalanche of powerful and mostly good riffs, but as soon as the avalanche has reached the ground and one has a clear view again, everything is gone. No, there's not much that keeps sticking in the ear. (By contrast, the choruses of "Stranded in Hell" or "After the Holocaust" are haunting me for more than three decades.)

However, "Hell on Earth" does not hold lukewarm or half-baked tunes. They are effective as long as the album is running. The constant focus on high velocity kills some percent of the dynamic, but that's no big deal. The fact that Grind exactly offers what he wants, likes and is makes up for the uniformity that characterises this work. Yes, I miss a couple of outstanding highlights, even though the riff of "Arise from the Cemetery" or the chorus of "Thrashing Death" sound very promising. However, I cannot blame the artist for fillers as well. Honestly speaking, I ask myself how long it takes to write and record such an album with the aforementioned running time. Probably 29 minutes, that's enough time to play the tracks and to have a piss break after the tenth beer. On a more serious note, the songs really boast with their spontaneity and I am sure that Toxic Holocaust can destroy every stage and drive every crowd wild in a matter of minutes, but on the next day, nobody will remember a single note.

At the end of the album, Grind plays two guitar solos. What a poser (little joke). Fortunately, the punk vibes and the apocalyptic destructiveness remain unaffected. The very solid and somehow glaring production fits this musical content very well. No doubt, Grind's holistic way of proceeding comes to fruition. Given this situation, I can recommend the album to all those of you who want to experience a musical bloodlust with monotonous, nearly absurdly reverberating vocals, straight drumming and harsh riffs. Just be aware of the fact that there is nothing new to discover when playing the album for the second time. Toxic Holocaust present all they can present immediately, anything else would be just a waste of time in Grind's opinion. While doing so, he is aligned with the cover artist and his unmistakeable artworks.

From cliche blackened images to thrashing ones. - 85%

hells_unicorn, November 23rd, 2013

Of the present thrash revivalist crowd, Toxic Holocaust tends to among the most archaic, hearkening back to a sound that was more commonplace circa 1983-85, as opposed to what immediately followed it via the Teutonic worship craze of late in Greece and Brazil. Granted, parallels to the earliest offerings of Sodom can be presumed in this band's musical paradigm, insofar as they were tied in with contemporary purveyors of blackened speed Hellhammer, Venom and Bathory. All the older hard rock trappings and latent pentatonic bluesy influences that typified the transitional work of Motorhead as present, yet distorted to the point of being a little too dangerous for Lemmy's taste, and coupled with the droning tremolo lines that were a staple of Venom and early Slayer, while keeping a bit of a hardcore edge to it via the cross-pollination of Discharge and Black Flag.

"Hell On Earth" is a continuation of this grand tradition that was put forth in a slightly rawer form on "Evil Never Dies", offering up the same sort of one-man band extravaganza that die-hard adherents to recent Darkthrone offerings and the recent Fenris endorsed Nordic thrash outfit Deathhammer are sure to eat up. Granted, the blackened quality of this album manifests mostly through the vocal delivery, which definitely resembles the lower sepulchral ravings of Nocturno Culto, whereas the riff set is only a few notes shy of flirting with early Metallica, particularly when the instrumental "Intro" kicks in with a flavor not too far removed from the principle riff of "Hit The Lights". Guitar solos are a regular occurrence, and definitely hint at a strong Quorthon influence with a generally rock based yet frenetic assault that stops shy of virtuosic, but is nevertheless a needed fit of sweetener on an otherwise bare bones format.

For an album that is just a hair above demo quality in its production values, there are a lot of moments where Joel Grind's precision as both a songwriter and instrumentalist really shine through. Somewhat longer and more involved speeders like "Send Them To Hell" and "Burn" listen like they are the product of a seasoned band and definitely force heads to bang and bodies to gyrate in violent manners. The only thing that would make these songs even more compelling is a slightly larger sounding drum production and a little more punch to the guitars, which is essentially what one would hear on Deathhammer's "Onward To The Pits", along with a higher pitched to the point of being inhuman screamer at the fore. But whether things are more on a metallic side as is the case with the songs that clock around the 3 minute mark, or when they occasionally find themselves in overt hardcore territory like on "Time To Die" and "Never Stop The Massacre", the intensity remains consistent.

This is a bit darker and nastier than what most of the Municipal Waste crowd will go for, but this is definitely a solid album for those old school irreverent types who like their blackened landscapes adorned with thrashing zombies on the cover. It's primitive and relies on a very limited set of ideas, and is ideally timed out so that it doesn't drag out the way early 2000s Darkthrone did. Between this outfit and a few others, it almost makes up for the extremely limited output of several iconic 1st wave bands in this particular style, along with that of Discharge and English Dogs. Get the human brain platters ready, we're entertaining toxic zombies this evening.

Thrashing Death! - 85%

The_Boss, April 13th, 2008

What happens when you mix Venom, Sodom, Kreator and punk/crossover? Well you probably get something akin to Toxic Holocaust. Having been on a huge retro-thrash high lately I continued to search for more and more bands with Toxic Holocaust being one of the most recent bands. Playing a similar style as Nocturnal Breed or Morbid Saint fusion, Hell On Earth is a decent offering that shows off how a vintage style of raw thrash album can still be created with plenty of attitude.

Sure it may not be the most original thing and sure it only may be 27 minutes long, but it still worth a listen even for the brief moments of thrashing insanity and headbanging fun. The Intro starts off with a romp as an instrumental guitar driven piece leaving you ready for the nonstop insanity that follows throughout. The first songs start off with a bang being the best on the album with some solid riffing and bass work. Send Them To Hell is a catchy song with a fun chorus as well as a powerful riff throughout. The best part of Hell On Earth is obviously the guitars with heavy riffing and short but fast solos, even the bass is high in the mix with a lot of bass solos or continuing in a heavy rhythm section.

The weakest link though is obviously the production, giving it a gritty and old school vibe, but still isn’t exactly what makes it the best. I find it almost annoying how bad the drums are in here but work to keeping up the pace despite being nothing special. The vocals are somewhat annoying at times, spitting out random silly and blasphemous lyrics that aren’t understandable gets old after a while. Fortunately though the choruses are usually fun to sing along with like Thrashing Death and Send Them To Hell.

Despite being somewhat under produced (obviously on purpose) this is an enjoyable raw and dirty blackened thrash album with an old school vibe full of semi-crossover attitude and feelings. High speed tight riffs mixed with some powerful bass lines make for some great fun as well as catchy choruses and riffs giving the listener an enjoyable time, but I fear this doesn’t hold up for as long on a play list where it stays on repeat or such. Some songs run into each other way too often, falling into a blend with some repetitious moments. Otherwise this can be an enjoyable album for a listen every once in a while for some headbanging old school fun!

In league with Satan? - 95%

HellBellsLiveWire, March 7th, 2008

Have you ever gone to Ebay and typed in 'thrash' in the search box, just to see what appeared? I can tell you from experience that you can find a ton of new bands this way. Most notably for me was Toxic Holocaust. An auction was held for the Hell On Earth cd and a free patch and poster. I won the whole lot for $6.66 (how creative of the seller). I had high hopes for this album, vintage logo, vintage art, vintage influences, I prayed they had a vintage sound.

My prayers were awnsered with Hell On Earth.

The Intro should give you a pretty good idea about what the album has in store, but it still comes as a total surprise when 'metallic crucifixion' kicks in. This is my favorite song on the record. Its brutal, heavy, fast, unforgiving, and strangely melodic. The only real problem with this song is the campy lyrics ("penetrate your fucking cunt with a crucifix"- beautiful) but what were you expecting when you looked at the incredible Ed Repka cover? The fucking Beatles!?!

Hell On Earth doesnt let up. Track after track is a heavy metal blitzkrieg that reminds the listener of what a true thrash record sounds like. The title track and 'send Them to hell' are easily two more examples of Joel Grinds ability to take early black metal to new heights of heavy metal ferocity.

You might sense that Im getting a bit excited about this record, but its a record worth getting excited about. Consider it the true follow up to "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark", consider it "Black Metal Part Two", or consider it the best black thrash metal album of the decade, which is what it truly is.

Toxic Thrash From the Wasteland! - 90%

Scissors, January 29th, 2006

Joel Grind is back with another punk rock-black thrashing nightmare! Fans of his previous work will enjoy this; it’s the same old thing he’s been doing, which is definitely a good thing! Overall, I’d say “Evil Never Dies”, is a bit better than this album, so if you don’t have that yet, get it! The vocals stick out in the mix, but they are a very well done blackened bark that goes right along with the punk/thrash riffs. There’s a lot of reverb/echo on the vocals, which might be annoying to some people, but I find it adds a nice touch. The drums are very basic, and a lot of the beats sound the same, but they keep the songs moving along in proper thrash form. I don’t even think he uses double bass. Basically, they are punk drums. The songs are short, thus is the whole album, but it’s over before you can get sick of it, so you’ll only want more!

For fans of: Sodom, Kreator, early Bathory, Venom, Sauron...