Toxik - Breaking Class - (6.5/10)
Published on July 29, 2017
Genre:Technical Speed Metal / Thrash
As pretty much all the 80’s thrash formations reformed, there were few whose return made more sense than Toxik. The shrieky speedsters released their amazing debut World Circus, followed by the less manic, more technical Think This, and then disappeared. Rumors and talks about a new record have been around for the last few years, and perhaps things are gearing up for a release soon, as the Breaking Class EP would hint.
Three songs tick at 12 minutes, with Charles Sabin (who sung on Think This) behind the mic. The band is known for having plenty of high-pitched shrieks, but time took its toll on Sabin. He opts for more of a midrange approach with only some wails on the side. His basic singing voice is alright most of the time, except some whiny tones on “Psyop”. The shrieks seem to have a fair bit of the power of old, although the effects used are audible.
The production could be much better, as the cymbals are way too loud and clangy, and the lack of the bottom end of the mix tones down the overall heaviness. But since this is an independent release, I will not nitpick… nor will I comment on the lyrics, which are firmly in the Havok territory, although not quite as overt. The preachy tone detracts from the experience, but it is the songs that count in the end.
Each of the three songs represent one side of Toxik. “Psyop” is midpaced (and the slowest of the bunch), and relies on technical riffs to get its point across – similarly to the Toxik’s second record. While not really catchy, “Psyop” sports a tasty solo and a cool recurring lick. The title song, however, could be on the band’s debut, with pure speed metal insanity, and the band’s mastermind, Josh Christian, shows that he can still shred with the best of ’em. The riffs are frenetic and the solo is even faster, which in itself is quite a feat. Sabin also conveys a hooky melody as he yelps “Violence is never the way!”. Slightly slower and much weaker is “Stand Up” with its Testament-like riffs and a simple chorus. Not much meat to be picked off the bleached thrash bones in here.
In total, Toxik serve three songs – an amazing one, an alright one and a very disappointing one, making the EP still decent. However, the thing that frightens me is that the worst track sounds the least like their output in the past. If the album ends up being another stylistic shift, the fans might be disappointed. Should Breaking Class be an indicator of what’s to come, Josh Christian should definitely stick to his guns, and fans are allowed to remain in cautious optimism.