posted on 9/2011 By:
Toxic Trace is not afraid to wear its influence on its sleeve. This Serbian group undoubtedly takes its name from the track on Kreator’s Terrible Certainty album. I say undoubtedly, because the band’s debut, Torment, is bursting with the rabid aggression that characterized mid-eighties German thrash, and to drive the point home, Toxic Trace covers Kreator’s “Flag of Hate”. To Toxic Trace’s credit, however, the band’s high regard for Kreator does not lead them to total mimicry. The influence of other early thrash acts like Sepultura (particularly in the vocals), Sodom and Slayer can be found in the band’s sound. Yet, while Toxic Trace’s musical ideas seem not to extend beyond 1986, Torment features a performance and production of the quality befitting an album released in 2011.
The first thing that struck me upon listening to Torment is that Toxic Trace plays really fucking fast. Now, this being thrash metal, that fact should not come as a surprise, but Toxic Trace has a tendency to haul exceptional amounts of ass, even for a thrash band. Drummer Djubre’s beats seem to rest on the verge of blasting, and guitarist/growler Dushman’s strumming resembles the whir of power equipment. Unlike early Kreator, which had a tendency to charmingly stumble through some of its more intricate passages, Toxic Trace’s performance is razor sharp in every aspect, save solos, which have a reckless, seat-of-the-pants feel.
As an album, Torment holds no inscrutable secrets; it is thrash metal, pure and simple. Throughout the album’s thirty-five minutes, Toxic Trace thrashes hard, fast, and well. There are a few moments where the band slows things down, like the intro to “Tormentor” (oddly not a cover of the Kreator song of the same name), which has a mid-paced “Remember the Fallen” type of groove, but none of these moments last overlong. Hell-hammering, head-banging fury is the story of Torment. Toxic Trace is not long on originality, but its riffs are good, its execution is flawless and its commitment to pure thrash fury is unassailable. There might be better thrash albums available, but you would be hard pressed to find one as authentically brutal as Torment.
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