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Toxikull - The Nightraiser Award winner

The Nightraiser
by Chris Hawkins at 28 April 2018, 5:59 AM

Back in 1985, bands across the globe started injecting more and more speed into their sound in order to keep up with the competition.  Speed Metal as a sub-genre can be thought of perhaps as the purest form of Heavy Metal's second wave.  Unlike Thrash, there was no influence of Punk, and the blueprint simply was outdoing JUDAS PRIEST in speed and savagery.  To hear a band be able to pull off authentic Speed Metal without coming across as pretentious or derivative is not only refreshing but also hopeful.  TOXIKULL have a sound that could have been brewed in a rehearsal space in the mid 1980s, yet the band only formed in 2016 in Portugal.  "The Nightraiser" is an EP follow-up to the band's debut full-length, "Black Sheep."  Admittedly, I've not heard the debut, but after listening to this EP, it's on my to-do list!  It's incredible to hear this accurate of a representation of the intended sound and especially so when coupled with the fact that the material is fresh, quality songwriting.

The title track leads the album off with some MAIDEN-like guitar harmonies filled out with well-placed bass notes underneath.  At the 1:04 mark, the band launches into overdrive with a lightspeed riff that resolves with nimble pull-offs, and then comes the high-pitched scream.  Let the Metal begin!  The second track, "Surrender or Die," is so fast it sounds like a jet fighter off course into oblivion.  The thrash riff that occurs in the middle would be home on "Kill 'Em All," and the bass sounds much like Cliff Burton in the background stomping through the maniacal drums executed at a level Lars could never replicate.  The fifth and last original track, "Satan Bloody Satan," is a more mid-paced tune, but still fast compared to other bands.  Let the clichés loose and we shall embrace them!  I particularly enjoyed the way in which the solo was tracked with each guitar panned hard to each side and the bass in the middle keeping the song locked down.  It doesn't get much more Metal than a chorus of "Satan!  Bloody!  Satan!"

The bass playing on the album is a true high mark for not only can it always be heard, but its old school style is personified by a variety of tones from those heavy on the attack to others with a mid-heavy presence that evoke classic Steve Harris.  The drummer hits hard and is all over the place.  The guitars are so meticulously recorded and performed that every single note can be heard whether it be picked, hammered, or palm-muted.  The runs through scales and arpeggios are lightning-fast and one can hear influences from Dave Mustaine to Kai Hansen.  What is truly astounding is that both the bass player, Armageddon, and the guitar player, Lex Thunder sing!  Wow!  Metal has been missing pipes like these for quite a while as both execute thunderous versions of tenor singing with soaring highs and on-key melodies.

It must also be mentioned how absolutely cool it is that the band closes the EP with a cover of the proto-G'N'R band, HOLLYWOOD ROSE's "Rocker." The album is an instant classic as you can smell the breathy musk of your old leather jacket which probably still has a couple Marlboros inside.  "The Nightraiser" gives you that old school vibe of finally getting out of the house to cruise around town in the nighttime air while blaring Heavy Metal and getting weird looks from old ladies.  The songs are almost all raging Metal anthems, and at times remind you of "Metal Invaders"-HELLOWEEN, "Welcome to Dying"-BLIND GUARDIAN, and JUDAS PRIEST "Painkiller" thrown in a blender on high.  Not only was this album a pleasure to review, but I can proudly say that I will be listening to it for pleasure for many hours afterward.  Thankfully for us, this devil music did live on.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. The Nightraiser
2. Surrender or Die
3. Hellmaster
4. Freedom to Kill
5. Satan Bloody Satan
6. Rocker (Hollywood Rose cover)
Armageddon – Bass, Vocals (lead)
The Lorke – Drums
Lex Thunder – Guitars, Vocals (lead)
Michael Blade – Guitars
Record Label: Mosher Records


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Edited 27 January 2023

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