Review

TOXIK Breaking Class

EP · 2017 · Thrash Metal
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4/5 ·
UMUR
"Breaking Class" is an EP release by US thrash/speed metal act Toxik. The EP was independently released in August 2017. Toxik were formed in 1985 (under the Tokyo monicker, but soon changed their name to the current one) and released two generally well received studio albums in 1987 and 1989 before disbanded in 1992. For years there were rumors of a reunion and a comeback album titled "In Humanity", but that idea didn´t materialize, and "In Humanity" was released as a 3 track pre-production demo in 2014. So "Breaking Class" is the band´s first official studio release since the "Think This" full-length studio album from 1989.

So how do you pick up 28 years down the line? Well...Toxik used to play a technical type of thrash/speed metal with high pitched screaming vocals, and while the instrumental part of the music is still in technical thrash/speed metal territory, the vocal style has changed a bit. Lead vocalist Charles Sabin can still hit a high note when that is needed and do it frequently, but he now predominantly sings in a slightly lower register. He is a skilled singer with a strong voice, so he makes it work well, although I can´t deny that I miss the completely over-the-top high pitched vocals on "Think This (1989)", but that´s a matter of personal taste, and Sabin´s performance here is arguably of a high quality and nicely varied too. The rest of the band are also well playing. Guitarist Josh Christian (who in addition to Sabin is the only remaining member of the lineup who recorded "Think This (1989)") plays sharp and thrashy but also more melodic guitar riffs, harmonies and leads, while the new rhythm section of bassist Shane Boulos and drummer James DeMaria do a great job playing powerful energetic parts driving the music forward.

"Breaking Class" features 3 tracks and a full playing time of 12:36 minutes, so it´s only a short taste of how Toxik sound in 2017, but it´s a sweet taste leaving the listener wanting more, and that´s always a sure sign of good quality material. The tracks are powerful, thrasy, melodic, and played and sung with great passion and conviction, and they are relatively varied too. The EP features a well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly, so upon conclusion "Breaking Class" is a great comeback for Toxik, which arguably shows they still have what it takes. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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