Release DetailsLABEL Selfmadegod Records
RELEASED ON 5/21/2007
posted on 5/2007 By:
Along with Job for a Cowboy, See You Next Tuesday, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, I Killed the Prom Queen, Dew-Scented, and a slew of others, Toxic Bonkers' choice of a name is, well, shit. Aside from their moniker, however, this Polish band offers a death/grind hybrid that makes for an enjoyable listen in many respects. Toxic Bonkers are no strangers to the music business either, as Progress is their fourth full-length – the follow-up to 2004’s Seeds of Cruelty – but only their second since signing with Selfmadegod. And while this album isn’t great, it’s still one of Selfmadegod’s better efforts. In fact, it’s the label’s best in recent memory, even if it fails to live up to its title.
With Selfmadegod veering from releasing only grindcore, evidenced by recent acquisitions Daymares, Hirax, et al, Toxic Bonkers are grind enough to fit in with labelmates such as Catheter, Herman Rarebell, and Third Degree, but loosely. Progress contains a hefty portion of death metal, and intermittently jettisons grind properties completely – especially the title track. Even though grind does comprise a significant amount of their overall sound, another testament that it isn’t necessarily the cornerstone is the album’s length and how it’s divided among the individual songs. The 10 clock in at just over 35 minutes, which makes each song longer, on average, than an everyday grind tune. With that being said, parts of “Manifesto” as well as other songs could masquerade as Napalm Death – the riffs and tempo are very similar – despite the blasting at the beginning. The leads are excellent, unexpected additions, but are also underused. Another contributor to the variation is the raspy growl that complements the more guttural one. Thankfully, the former is mostly relegated to cameos.
On the whole, every component of Progress is sturdy enough to warrant more praise than criticism. After all, this abrasive death/grind concoction shouldn’t sound overly polished. Instead, it should sound balanced, yet rough around the edges, and it does. Due primarily to solid songwriting, Toxic Bonkers avoid being characterized as a Napalm Death clone, even if they get damn close at times. I, for one, would like to see them move further away from that sound on subsequent releases.
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