Before the 2013 release of this album, Toxic Holocaust was not on my radar. I hadn’t seen an album cover of theirs, hadn’t heard a song and never even heard the name pop up in casual conversation with other Heavy Metal fans. That’s not to say they shouldn’t have been on my mind, it’s just pointing out a sad fact of my Metal-loving existence that I was woefully ignorant.
Released on October 29, 2013 on Relapse Records, Chemistry of Consciousness is a blazingly-quick Thrash/Punk hybrid that doesn’t let up on it’s thrill ride through the mind of TH mastermind Joel Grind. The songs all have the classic to-the-point style of writing that is reminiscent of the early Thrash scene and you really wouldn’t want it any other way. No fat, no filler. Just straight-up Thrash with a gutter-punk attitude.
Now, I’d have stayed blind to the Toxic Holocaust way if it hadn’t been for the maniacal, animated bliss of the music video for “Rat Eater.” I can’t remember exactly why/where I came across the video but I am so glad I did. It was a fantastic introduction to the band and it has led me down a path to learning more about the band and their discography.
I absolutely love the artwork that came along with this album. The illustration, the logo, the fonts. This album really has a good, high-quality package feel. The first thing you’ll notice is the striking image of the snake with syringe fangs. This is some really bitchin’ work done by artist Andrei Bouzikov. The typeface that was chosen for the album title has a great 60s/70s vibe that fits in with some of the lyrical content on the album. Another really cool point about this album artwork is the use of a spot varnish on the eyes, logo and snake. You can notice how the eyes in the close-up photo below are sharper and have a bit more “pop” to them. That’s the spot varnish. It can be a cool effect when done well.
The back of the jacket features a larger version of the snake and the song titles. No bullshit here. The typeface used for the song titles is very simple and bold, just like the songs within. The thing that really catches my eye with the back of the jacket is the red/orange gradient and the splatter texture along the top edge. I love it. It’s a small addition that was done amazingly well.
The insert and vinyl both have some cool stuff going for them. The insert is a color picture & lyric sheet. One side of the sheet is the album cover in all it’s full-color glory and the reverse side is the lyrics for the album. Just a black and white sheet broken into four columns. It has a bit of a punk/DIY feeling, just way more finished and clean.
The vinyl is the limited edition Yellow/Black splatter variety. 624 copies were pressed with this color option that were only available on the Relapse website. I snagged one of these as soon as I was able to. It looks REALLY wicked in person.
If you are a fan of Thrash or Punk-tinged Heavy Metal then I suggest you give Toxic Holocaust a spin. Short, fast songs mixed with crazy lyrical themes and killer artwork never get old for me and I can say nothing but good things about this band. Check out the video below and get converted to the ways of Joel Grind and his brainchild Toxic Holocaust.
3 Songs to Help You Deny The Truth
Chemistry of Consciousness