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Toxaemia – Where Paths Divide

Where Paths Divide
by Quinten Serna at 27 September 2020, 5:07 PM

The grandeur of Thrash Metal is a particular taste revered in high regards on the palettes of those that have traversed the bitter realities of esotericism. In short, it’s an aggressive laden, headbanging inducing, balls-to-the-wall kind of experience where those who appreciate such are rewarded with the solace of cathartic splendor, the likes of which can only be found in a torrent of Speed, Metal, and raw energy. TOXAEMIA—now in their 31st year (though only 7 as a corporeal unity)—is no stranger to such conceptions and has just managed their long awaited debut, “Where Paths Divide.”

The CD starts with the title track, “Where Paths Divide” which functions as a short prelude to album as a whole, consisting of uplifting strings, strong chords, and a prose delivery sounding eerily similar to STEVE BLUM. “Delusions” starts up during the ending segue and truly introduces the band within the span of a few seconds as a maelstrom formed of solos, rhythms, and screams descends upon the listener; the song contains a distinct amount of tone and rhythm changes though somehow manages stark shifts without altering the natural progression of the track or ruining the flow. “Buried To Rot” leaves no room for breath as the whole of the track is composed with speed and unrelenting force in mind, the full intrinsic assault of the instrument forces itself onto the listener only to be broken apart in tensed stillness by staccato rhythms which pave the way for a solo and the eventual break. The ever eponymous track, “Toxaemia,” shares its identity with the band both in name and form consisting of unapologetic deliveries, striking modulations, and a lasting impression. “Six-Fold Revenge” is perhaps the fastest song on the whole collection, though still manages to incorporate a slew of progression changes and alterations. “Hate Within” is by far the most discrete and recognizable track upon the album as its construction is wholly unique and its sudden and unwarranted ending—with the sounding of a knell nonetheless—is a shocking and attention grabbing effect.

The instrumentation and deliveries presented by the band is of particular notice, as every person performing seemed to have the ability of leaving the listener with wanting more as after listening to the album three times I still want to go back and start it over again. The guitars are contain a gritty and raunchy essence, something seeded in misery and subtle allure where the chords and rhythms sort of reach out with a ghost like embrace and the leads melt together; the bass has the sound of some living creature hungry and terrifying in strength, something that seems to grow as you become more accustomed to the sonic atmosphere of each track; the drums are unnervingly precise striking at just the right moment to shift your focus somewhere else, or otherwise lead the band towards a quick modulation; and the vocals are some manner intimidating but humbling, having about themselves a visceral, screeching, and caustic sound yet delivered in such a clear and commanding tone that they possess the odd trait of having you identify with them.

TOXAMEIA has had fans loyal to their name and sound lying in wait for decades, to those that have patiently kept in silence waiting for the band to release their material I would be unable to speak that such aligns to their expectations, but from the perspective of a new listener “Where Paths Divide” is an opus of grand construction. The album focuses on centralized themes of Death and Thrash Metal but goes around the approach of such in constantly shifting mannerisms which keeps the audience focused and interested as the band plays to its greatest of strengths.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Where Paths Divide
2. Delusions
3. Pestilence
4. Buried To Rot
5. Betrayal
6. Toxaemia
7. Black Death
8. Six-Fold Revenge
9. Psycotic Pandemic
10. Leprosy
11. Hate Within
Pontus Cervin – Bass
Per “Perra” Karlsson – Drums
Rasmus Axelsson – Guitars (Lead)
Stevo Bogakoff – Guitars and Vocals
Dennis Johansson – Vocals
Record Label: Emanzipation Productions


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