posted on 11/2007 By:
California’s Neurotoxin is yet another young (really young, judging from their promo pic) thrash band, surfing along on the genre’s wave of resurgence. This little four-tracker showcases a band with a slightly different approach than their not-ready-for-prime-time peers, as they seem to focus their energy on writing head-nodding, brain-stickin’ tunes…a not-so-little detail that many youthful progenitors of the style push to the wayside, via their preoccupation with aesthetics. However, if Neurotoxin hope to make their little notch in the new-school bedpost stand out in the collective memory, they have to seriously up the thrashin’ quotient, ASAP, because V.S.L. is the dreaded “thrash record that doesn’t thrash”.
There’s no immediacy or intensity seeping from this toxic tray o’ metal, and some of that blame could certainly be shouldered by the clear-yet-unspectacular production. But if you’re looking for a lightning quick, slap-to-the-dick adrenaline rush, you aren’t going to find it here. It’s unlikely that Neurotoxin, at this stage of their career, will satiate the urges of blood-hungry circle-scooters. V.S.L. contains a couple of potentially solid thrash metal songs, but they’re just played too damn slowly…it’s like the entire band has cinder blocks tied to their wrists. Too often I’m left thinking, “Damn, that part would be fucking cool…if they tripled the BPMs”. The band never drops the hammer, and without proper crunch, the lackadaisical tempos grow tiring.
If these dudes would jack it up a bit (okay, a lot), they might be able to snatch a ride on the crossover/thrash bandwagon before the floorboards give out. Vocalist John Hernandez can carry a hell of a chorus with his Slayeresque, crossover-style yells and croons; and there some surprisingly bubbly solos to be found here, in spite of the vanilla rhythm work. As previously stated, the songwriting core is solid, but not deft enough that it could avoid the scalpel’s trim (especially apparent on the 8 minute “Ghostly Confessor”, which could’ve been 6 minutes shorter). With the implementation of a rigorous cardio program and an ample supply of deathamphetamine, Neurotoxin could wreck some skulls...but they would be wise to pick up the pace, posthaste.
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