|Classic Review: Toxik - Think This|
Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 1989
Review online: August 1, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Rated 3.84/5 (76.77%) (31 Votes)
Toxik were one of those lucky bands who never created a shit album before going their separate ways (although, that could be set to change as I hear they've recently reformed… hopefully not though for their sakes eh!?). Although featuring different line ups in their 2 album late 80's career, they always managed to keep the consistency up to near 100% throughout with fast paced, forward thinking technically challenging speed/thrash for the most part, with the obligatory Queensryche-like ballad thrown in for good measure. However, out their two albums, this one just has the edge for me, as it features a different vocalist (Charles Sabin) to their first effort (their debut 'World Circus' featuring the notorious 'acquired taste' shrieker Mike Sanders, who was known to out-shriek even Halford – for more info on that, check out the inner sleeve of the recent re-issue of 'World Circus' – it's something he was obviously proud of!).
'Think This' is a concept album, the concept being made blatantly clear by the excellent Ed Repka cover art alone – TV brainwashing millions of us poor unsuspecting innocents into a collective sheep-like state (cleverly interspersing slices of TV advertisements amongst the songs for added effect, done to death by many a band since). However, the album focus probably made a nice change at the time of release to the usual template lyrical subjects of injustice, nuclear war, fantasy or to a lesser extent - Satan – most of which were very popular staples among the genre for a of a lot of bands at the time. Musically, as mentioned previously, this is pretty much a musician's dream/wankfest (delete to taste) of the highest order, as the riffs shred at top paces, the solos fly more notes per second at your head than your average Yngwie fret-frig, the drums batter out avant-garde jazzy rhythms and more fills than you could possibly imagine. Vocally, Sabin whilst not being as overtly high pitched as his aforementioned predecessor, still manages to traumatize his tonsils by some fantastic falsetto squeals amongst a generally excellent voice that I'd say had the range and power of a metal Jeff Buckley.
Also, there are some comparisons in guitar tones (especially the synth guitar parts) to an embryonic Cynic with that clear, fresh quality sound helping to expand the progressive musical elements of the album, with heartfelt, slow wailing guitar solos over acoustic sections in the ballad like arrangements of some parts of a few of the songs. The only negative comment I can think of making about this release is the fact that there is a track that stands out from the rest of the album in a not so good way, that being the Led Zeppelin cover, which although done in Toxik's own inimitable style, seems a bit strange being thrown into the track listing of a concept album, however it's quickly followed up by possibly the best track on the album 'Shotgun Logic', which brings together prime Sadus with Voivod-like chords to truly batter you into submission, making up for the out of place cover in droves.
Anyhow, enough rambling from me – if you haven't heard this band before, don't just take my word for it, you'll be hard pressed to find a bad review for these guys anywhere. Go seek out both their albums (both re-issued on Metal Mind records alongside a load of other classic Roadrunner material). A fantastic album of the highest order.
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