TOXAEMIA — Where Paths Divide (review)

TOXAEMIA — Where Paths Divide album cover Album · 2020 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
My last review for MMA was Skelethal’s 2020 album Unveiling The Threshold, a French death metal band whose sound owed a lot to the original Swedish death metal bands like Dismember and Entombed. My next comes from Toxaemia, a band who can claim to have been around at the start of the Swedish death metal movement. Unfortunately for them, they only stuck around long enough to release an EP and a couple of demos, splitting up in 1991. Incidentally, these early recordings can be heard to best effect on the Burried To Rise compilation. As well as the original mixes there are remixed and remastered versions done by Dan Swano who has worked wonders with them. The band could have been nothing more than a footnote in Swedish death metal but reformed in 2017 and over thirty years after their original formation have finally released their debut album.

Where Paths Divide kicks off proper, after the almost obligatory atmospheric intro piece, in this case the album title track, with Delusions. It’s a great start with a powerful slab of mid paced old school death metal. It’s one of the best songs on the album as is following track Pestilence. Here they up the pace without sacrificing any of the power, ferocious riffs not in short supply on either track. The band never betters these early high benchmarks but nevertheless retain a high standard of compelling and pulverising death metal for most of the album. The albums not about speed, though it has its faster moments, but more about crushing riffs, sometimes slowed to a steady groove, which is aided by the Dan Swano mix who adds an organic and muscular edge to the band’s sound. The playing is solid from band originals Pontus Cervin (Bass) and Stevo Bolgakoff (guitars) aided by new guys Rasmus Axelsson (guitars), Perra Karlsson (drums) and Dennis Johansson (vocals). The album does tail off slightly towards the end but with only a minimal dip in quality Toxaemia have still managed to produce a high quality death metal album.

I was originally leaning towards a 3 star rating before starting my review but repeated plays have allowed most of these songs to get under my skin. Where Paths Divide is an album I’ll enjoy returning to from time to time so it’s definitely worth a good 3 ½ stars. Hopefully there will be more to come from Toxaemia in the future.
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