Interview with Josh Christian from TOXIK

Toxik was an US-based technical thrash metal band, hailing from New York. In the 80’s they released two cult albums, World Circus (1987) and Think This (1989). I interviewed Josh Christian, founding member and lead guitarist of Toxik.

Who or what inspired you to pick up a guitar?

I am from a musical family, both my parents played guitar and sang. My dad played a little horn, he also played bass in a band when I was young. Growing up I was immersed in all kinds of music, from Jazz and Classical to Contemporary Rock of the day. My parents were into Yes and King Crimson, Mahavisnu Orchestra etc. For me growing up in the 70’s and then the 80’s it was great and I was very lucky. All of the instruments of a band were at my house for me to play whenever I wanted and I did, a lot. Drums and Guitar ended up being the ones I stuck with. As I got older I narrowed it down to guitar and took lessons. For lead guitar playing Van Halen and Uli Jon Roth were my biggest Influences, along with Richie Blackmore, Allan Holdsworth from UK and Adrian Belew from King Crimson. Of course Yngwie was an influence later on.

How was Toxik formed? What’s the history?

I started the band with my friend Lee, we were Punk originally and then Noise. In 1980 we heard Motörhead and that changed everything… this music blew my mind, between that and The Scorpions, Accept, Judas Priest, Tigers of Pantang etc. and then Venom and Mercyful Fate, Slayer etc. Music exploded in a period of 7 years, it went from Classic Rock and Punk to Power metal to Black/Speed and Thrash… We just grew with it.
The original name was “The Photogenics” and we were seriously a Punk band in the vein of late 70’s safety pin in the the lip style shit. I was 12 and we played schools, party’s and halls. We started a riot everywhere we went and then through the years Centaur, Tokyo and Finally Toxik in 1984. By this time we were musically all Original and writing speed power metal. When Tad joined in 85 we became a Thrash band for real and started ripping fucking 190 bpm 16th notes. Mike and Brian had already been in the band a year. I was the last remaining member out of about 15 people.

How was the local scene at the time when the band was formed?

 Pretty Cool, we were part of the New York scene of that day. Anthrax and Overkill, Carnivore, Whiplash, Crumbsuckers, I can’t even remember them all! NYC in the 80’s was sick. I hate to rattle like an old man about how great it used to be, but honestly it was. It was insane, you could go out and see G.G. Allin, Leeway and Slayer in one weekend and it was every weekend in Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey and Manhattan… and then Boston and Philly. It was endless music in those days.

Josh back in the 80's.

Josh back in the 80’s.

Which bands influenced Toxik?

A wide variety we were all totally different in styles but we all liked metal. I think that’s the reason we sounded the way we did. We were always pretty eclectic.

Did bands like Watchtower, Realm, Voivod or Blind Illusion play a vital role in your sound?

Watchtower and Voivod were influential on the universe, not that Realm and Blind Illusion weren’t, but they were contemporary’s in fact Realm was signed to RoadRacer at the same time we were. So there wasn’t an influence in that way. I was also friends with Ron Jarzombek back in those days. We talked a lot on the phone and traded tapes etc. Similar things influenced us. Not that Toxik was anywhere near as busy as Watchtower, but we did both share a basis in the prog music from the previous decade. Again the stuff I grew up listening to.

How was the reception initially when the first copies of World Circus were released?

Mixed, some people loved it right away; others grew to like it more. Some people panned it. The press liked us overall it seemed, we won CMJ metal album of the year or we were in their top whatever. I don’t remember exactly but we had a really strong buzz for a Thrash/Speed Metal band. People that saw us live always liked us more it seemed. We didn’t get to tour the US on World Circus and it affected sales of the record which I blamed the label for because of their lack of support, but in Europe we were really well received and sold pretty decently. Enough to get a second album anyway.

How did you feel about one of the songs appearing on a Metal Massacre compilation?

Awesome we were so stoked when that came out, we were on with some great bands. Cool, cool thing.

How often did you guys tour? Any particular great memories?

Too many memories. Everything you imagine can happen on a tour with 15 young guys did. Rolling around the country side, drunk and happy that we were out living our dream… I’ll do this in one capacity or another till the day I die. I’m sure of it.

Why was Mike Sanders replaced by Charles Sabin on Think This?

Complicated. at the time the record company was giving us static about Mikes Voice and he had taken some bad press. It seemed everyone was digging the music but the vocals got a hard rap. When Think This rolled around, Mike himself decided to call it quits. He went out to California and started a new life. Charlie was the right guy for the Job and did a killer performance. To this day I love both of their voices. I don’t care what anybody else thinks either. Mikey has a totally unique sound to his voice, even his speaking voice is unique. Charlie was a practiced serious vocalist. He was driven in a different way than Mike was and the energy was good for the Album. Props to them both!

What was your inspiration for ‘There Stood The Fence’?

At the writing of that I was feeling pretty angry actually. In fact for all of Think This I was having a bit of a depressive state. I was reading a lot of alternative world history, very different from what I had been taught in school and the real world really fucked with my head. That album was definitely a work of frustration and confusion.

How was the experience playing at the Dynamo along with some great acts of that time? 

Truly one of the highlights of my life. I’ve played other big shows but that was different, the bands, the fans… just the whole thing. It was early on in the festival experience. Awesome, awesome day!

What is your favorite Toxik song?

Ha! Voices? Time After Time? World Circus? Black and White? Are you really asking me to choose between my children?

What do you think of all the kids who are into Toxik now?

I’m really feeling validated honestly. For all the haters that talked as much shit as they did, we actually ended up a legit cult band. I feel totally humbled by that, I don’t want to be misread but fuck all man it definitely makes me want to kick out some more Toxik music!

Did you expect that twenty years later people would still listen to your music?

I doubt anyone does anything where they can imagine what 20 years later will bring. Like I said I’m just humbled and honored, no nonsense.

Do you plan on recording with Toxik anytime soon?

YES! If I had done this interview when you first sent it to me I might have said no. But I have a friend who was really pushing me to do something and I started to think about it and it does seem like a good time to put out a record. There’s so much shit going on I the world right now, how could I ignore it? It’s not a reunion either, even though it technically is because it’s original members. I’d like to think of Toxik like a Pink Floyd or King Crimson of the Metal world. If we do a studio album every couple of years from here on out it won’t be a reunion it will just have been a long break; the new Stuff is a bridge between the 2 records mixed with a lot of new elements. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed. We haven’t slowed down at all, we’re still technical as hell. Now unlike back then we’ve had a lifetime to digest just how fucking ugly the world can be to itself and like I said, I can’t ignore it and you can hear that in the music. I’m still frustrated you see… but I’m not confused.

Primal Order – Genocide Meteorite Dynamite Alright (2012) Mini Review

What’s up thrashdancers! Although this month is mostly horror themed, i am doing this as a special request. My good friend Maarten handed me this tape and asked me to review it, so naturally i couldn’t refuse! That’s right, tape. We’re going old school today!  In the hierarchy of old-schoolness, tape comes first, then vinyl and then cd. Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff.

Just wonderful!

Primal Order themselves don’t even know what their own genre is and neither do i. I think it’s best qualified as metalpunk with a little touch of death. The songs. The songs are pretty fuckin’ good. We get treated to half an hour of great grooving songs with funny titles and epic vocals. All the songs on the tape have a sort of ‘rock ’n roll’ vibe that makes you (almost automatically) want to bang your head. The songs that stick out the most are Hot Mama, Oh My Goat, Life And Death and Genocide Meteorite Dynamite Alright. I mean even the title alone is enough to catch your attention and the song itself is catchy as hell! I had the chorus in my head for days after just listening to it once and i couldn’t get it out!

Anyway, there is not much else i can say about it, except go fucking listen to this you motherfucking bastards! If you like dirty, raw and unholy metal than this is right up your ally!

Closing Comments

Give this band a try, you won’t be dissapointed!

– Klikovreter

Hot Mama!

Primal Order on Facebook

Primal Order on Bandcamp

Exodus – Let There Be Blood (2008) Review

Let me start off this review by asking a question. Why? Why does this ungodly piece of filth exist? Why did they feel the need of remaking one of the most classic, most appreciated compact discs in thrash metal history? Suicidal Tendencies did it (Still Cyco), Tankard did it (Best Case Senario), Anthrax did it (The Greater Of Two Evils) and even Sodom did it (The Final Sign Of Evil). Even though the necessity of those releases are debatable, none of them come even close to being as pointless as this inhumane collection of absolute shit.

No comment.

Let me tell you something, if i have ever seen a complete waste of plastic, it’s the casing that holds this cd. For some reason, Gary Holt and his companions thought that this amazing masterpiece should be re-made. According to him to “Give it the benefit of modern production”. Are you fucking kidding me? The production on Bonded By Blood was raw at best but i wasn’t horrible! If any of the should be remade it would be Impact is Imminent, the guitars there sound way to ‘digital’ compared to their other albums. So why do i hate this album so much? First of all, it sounds way to good. As i’ve said earlier the ‘benefit of modern production’ does not apply here. The reason why the original sounds so good it’s because of it’s raw, primitive quality. The same goes for other albums of the time (Kill ‘Em All comes to mind). The new version just sounds way too polished and perfect. Second, there is no Paul Baloff. They took the only studio album that he appeared on and replaced him with good ol’ Rob Dukes. It has already been discussed what i think about his vocal style (in fact, he placed last in our ‘favourtie singer’ poll) and it just doesn’t go well with these songs. Paul is legendary among thrashers and is by you guys considered to be the best singer that Exodus ever had!

The experience i (and most of you) had with this album can best be described like this: Your uncle once gave you a teddy bear that you’ve loved for years. You have other stuffed animals too but not a single one comes close to being as awesome as that one teddy bear. Other things come along but that teddy bear will always have a special place with you. A few years later the uncle who gave you the bear visits you. He rapes and sodomizes your favourite bear, throws in in the trash, gives you a new one that is almost identical and says “Here, take this one, this one is newer. It is pretty much the same, only in a better condition!”. Even though he raped your favorite toy you will never forget the old one for being the coolest thing ever, and he will never be replaced!

Bonded By Blood has been voted by you as the best Exodus album ever, Paul Baloff as the best singer, Let There Be Blood as the worst album and Rob Dukes as the worst singer. You do the math.

Closing Comments

Stay away from this awful piece of shit.

– Klikovreter

Do yourself a favour and listen to the original!

Exodus – The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A (2007) Review

Out of all the Exodus albums, this seems to be one that i listened to the most when i was starting to get into metal (Besides Bonded by Blood of course), probably because it was the newest one at the time and i’d figure it was the best one to start with. This is the second album with Rob Dukes behind the microphone and features no lineup changes from Shovel Headed Kill Machine.

Woah dude, this is trippy.

I really love this album. Maybe it’s nostalgia talking, but it seems Exhibit A is what defines Exodus the way they are today Many people (including myself) would like them to return to their old style but i don’t think this is bad either! They continue the experimenting they did on Shovel Headed Kill Machine, meaning that except for Riot Act, all the songs are longer than five minutes. They all have long instrumentalp arts with great melodic solos that will have you fingering the air (wait what?) like you’ve never done before!

As i’ve said, Riot Act is good ol’ Exodus like we know them! Nothing much to say about it, except that it’s a great fucking headbanging song! Short, but sweet! Funeral Hymn is where things start to get really good. Despite it’s long running time (8 minutes and 38 seconds) it is one hell of a song, the riffs are all catchy, the solos (there are multiple!) are simply amazing to listen to! A very impressive song that seems to be a step up from their previous efforts. After this madness it’s time for what might be my favorite song from this album, Children Of A Worthless God. Once again a tad on the long side but that doesn’t mean it’s boring whatsoever!

The Atrocity Exhibition has a manaical main riff that makes you feel like you’re plunging into madness, an absolutely intense song that will grip you by the throat and won’t let go of you for the next..10 minutes! A long sit for a metal song, but just when you are starting to fall asleep you het hit in the face with Iconoclasm! An in your face brutal assault! The drums are so friggin’ cool on this song, i used to go crazy to this song when i was younger! Bedlam 1-2-3 sounds the most like classic Exodus out off all the songs, it sounds like it came straight from Fabulous Disaster! Of course there is the hidden bonus track, Bonded By Banjo or Banjoed By Blood as some people call it. It’s a banjo version of Bonded By Blood and well, it’s pretty fuckin’ hilarious.

Closing Comments

Maybe it’s just my nostalgia talking, but out of all the new Exodus albums this is probably my favorite. If you can once again stand Rob Dukes’ vocals then you’ll most likely enjoy this release. Give it a whirl!

Hell Yeah!

Exodus – Tempo Of The Damned (2004) Review

What’s up moshers! Today i’m going to talk about Tempo Of The Damned from 2004. Exodus already broke up twice before, but this time they were back for the long run! Steve Souza is back on vocals after Paul Baloff died in 2002, but sadly this would be his last studio album recorded with Exodus. This one takes a change in style for the band, although not a huge change. One could argue that they should’ve sticked to their old style but these new ones aren’t that bad!

‘Don’t mind me, i’m just casually playing while people are getting mangled into a bloody mess below me’

There is no fancy intros here, Scar Sprangled Banner starts immediately with an in your face guitar riff!. Immediately we notice the awesome riffs by riff-master Gary Holt, and it seems like this song could have been on Impact Is Imminent. Also back on drums is Tom Hunting, and he does a great job not resorting back to the same drum beat again and again. War Is My Shepherd is the most famous song on this album, and for good reason! This is an absolutely amazing song that just makes you want to bang your friggin’ head off! The guitars sound fierce, the bass is pounding and the drums are aggressive as fuck! The vocals take a different approach here, instead of Zetro’s signature snarl he ‘screams’ more on this song.

It seems now that it’s a tradition that every Exodus album has a slow headbang song. On Pleasures Of The Flesh we have Brain Dead, on Fabulous Disaster we have The Toxic Waltz, on Impact Is Imminent there is The Lunatic Parade and on Tempo Of The Damned it’s Blacklist. Need i say more? Forward March perfectly describes the feeling of the song, it makes you feel like marching forward and starting a pit in your living room! It even has some great accoustic parts during the chorus (read: distorted and clean guitars at the same time), also throw in some great melodic parts during the end of the song and you’ve got one of the best songs (musically spoken) on this album!

Throwing Down is another great track, the main riff is awesome and the melodies during the chorus are pretty nice too. Impaler is a song from Exodus’ Kirk Hammet days (He actually used the riff for Trapped Under Ice), the song is actually one of the best on Tempo Of The Damned! It’s a little weird that they didn’t record this earlier, because by now everyone already knows the Metallica song. But whatever, it’s great, and so is the title track Tempo Of The Damned. It sounds like Exodus in their Fabulous Disaster days and it’s definitely one of the highlights! Finish all of this off with an AC/DC cover (you can’t go wrong with AC/DC) and we’re done!

Closing Comments

Most people dislike the newer Exodus albums, mostly because of Rob Dukes’ vocals and because they aren’t really thrash anymore. This is in my opinion the last really good studio album by Exodus, but nonetheless a great fuckin’ cd. If you haven’t heard this one yet, give it a shot!


Exodus – Impact Is Imminent (1990) Review

What’s up! It’s me (Klikovreter) again for another underrated Exodus album! This time i’m going to talk about Impact Is Imminent from 1990. I feel as if this one has been done great injustice over the course of time, because even after the album had been released they didn’t play any songs live! Even though Good Friendly Violent Fun was released in 1991, there isn’t a single song from Impact on there. It’s a shame, because this album has some great songs on it!

Just cruisin' on the high- HOLY SHIT IT'S A GIANT FUCKING METAL BALL

Just cruisin’ on the high- HOLY SHIT IT’S A GIANT FUCKING METAL BALL

The album starts off powerful with the title track Impact Is Imminent. At first you hear the faint sounds of a police radio, a car screeching to a halt and after the crash we’re off to an aggressive guitar riff, a brutal thrashing assault, pounding drums and once again epic vocals by Zetro! The song is about drinking and driving, how you’ll never survive if you drive while under the influence:

“Every time you drink and drive
You always think that you’ll survive
Till your car is crushed and bent
Impact is imminent
Sirens fill the streets aloud
It always draws the biggest crowd
They peel your body off cement
Impact is imminent!”

A.W.O.L. doesn’t give us any time to breathe, it continues the tone of the previous song, which means more livingroom moshing! The song is about deserters of the U.S. army (A.W.O.L. stands for Absence Without Leave). The guitars sound heavy as fuck, more rough than on Fabulous Disaster. This is actually not a bad thing, this gives the album a more ‘raw’ feeling and it all adds to the awesomeness!

After all this madness it’s time for The Lunatic Parade! Like Brain Dead and The Toxic Waltz before it, this is this album’s slow headbanging song. However this doesn’t mean that this is just a rehash of those songs, this is a completely different kind. The whole thing has a sort of ‘synical’ tone over it, which perfectly fits the theme of the song.

Objection Overruled is another thrashing song, one of the better ones off Impact. Zetro sounds like a fuckin’ maniac and the riffs are both badass and melodic at the same time, this one sounds like it could have been on Fabulous Disaster. The solo is simply fantastic and this one makes you want to bang your head off! Sadly the rest of the album isn’t all that interesting, except for the last song called Thrash Under Pressure. A straightforward and fast well… thrasher! The riffs are friggin’ heavy and for an album closer, definitely a highlight!

Closing Comments

 This one really does not get the appreciation that it deserves. It’s of course not Exodus’ best effort, but it was way better than what was to come…


Exodus – Pleasures Of The Flesh (1987) Review

What’s up! My first review of Exodus month will be Pleasures Of The Flesh, from good ol’ 1987. I feel that this is a very overlooked album in Exodus’ discography, because songs from this album are almost never played live nowadays (They used to be though). There are some great songs on this album that continue in the same vein as Bonded By Blood.

Look at that beautiful artwork!

The first thing i want to note is the album cover. Originally the artwork was the members of Exodus depicted as cannibals, really nothing too shocking but for some reason people thought it was ‘too extreme’ so they decided to ban the artwork! Instead we get just a photo of the band sitting at a bar with some skulls… I’ll be honest with you. I think it sucks.

Seriously, what retard came up with this!?

As i said before, Pleasures Of The Flesh is mostly in the same vein as Bonded By Blood except for one thing, Baloff is out and Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza is in! While we could start an endless debate about who is the best singer, i think we can all agree that they are both awesome!

I almost forgot about the album itself! It starts with Deranged, a great song about (you guessed it) a deranged person. The riff in this song is great and for the first song people ever heard with Steve on vocals i would say he makes a good first impression! The lyrics are also great,

“Voices inside my head are making me go mad
Now I’m afraid to sleep from nightmares that I’ve had
I feel I’m on the edge, I need some kind of cure
Now I’ve gone and killed someone, I’m mentally disturbed!”

Parasite continues the onslaught after the in my opinion boring ‘Til Death Do Us Part. Parasite has that old school Exodus style written all over it, and could have easily appeared on Bonded By Blood. The solo’s by Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt are fast and furious, melodic, yet ferocious! One of my favorites is Brain Dead, probably because it’s also the name of one of my favorite movies. This one isn’t fast or anything, but it’s an awesome headbaging song nonetheless! It’s not as catchy as The Toxic Waltz but they did play this one live often back in the day (must have been a blast!).

Faster Than You’ll Ever Live To Be is another classic Exodus song. Although i’m not sure about the speed of this song (it’s fast alright, but faster than i’ll live to be?), nevertheless good friendly violent fun with this one! The title track Pleasures Of The Flesh actually sounds more like a present day Exodus song (if it was in d-tuning and with rob dukes ruining it), also the song is about eight minutes long, another trademark of the newer songs. It has some great melodic parts in it and a heavy as fuck main riff!

Fun fact, the song 30 Seconds is actually 40 seconds!

Chemi-Kill is the last song i’m going to talk about. This one has lots of tempo changes and suprisingly more melodic vocals by Souza. This one even has an epic clean part in the middle of the song which helps to lift the song up higher than you avarage thrash song. The last thing i would like to say is that the lyrics are awesome.

“They just want
To make another buck
They couldn’t care what happens
They wouldn’t give a fuck
Their big house way up on a hill
Was paid for in death
It’s chemi-kill!”

Closing Comments

Pleasures Of The Flesh is a great album by Exodus, perhaps a little sandwiched in between Bonded By Blood and Fabulous Disaster. I think that’s why this one gets overlooked nowadays, similar to the way i think So Far So Good So What! By Megadeth gets overlooked too. Give this one a listen, this is definitely a good thrash album!

– Klikovreter

Pleasures Of The Flesh

Addicted To Exodus!

What’s up thrashers!

This month is a special month, because we are going to try something new. We are going to dedicate this month to one of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time. You guessed it, fuckin’ Exodus. One of the earliest of their kind, and today still influencing many across the world. We are going to review all the Exodus albums, from Bonded By Blood until Exhibit B: The Human Condition. Even though probably every thrasher knows Bonded By Blood or Fabulous Disaster, some of their other albums get overlooked sometimes. It’s our duty to expose the hidden gems for you! So prepare your anus, because this month it’s all about EXODUS! Get up off your ass and  TOXIC WALTZ and get ready for some good old FRIENDLY VIOLENT FUN!

– Klikovreter

The pit is it!

Xentrix – For Whose Advantage? (1990) Review

What’s up mosh addicts? Today i’m going to talk about Xentrix. Xentrix is one of the few bands that have a name that starts with the letter x. Seriously, how many bands can you name that start with that letter? Originally formed in 1985 and released a bunch of albums until the late ‘90s, when they unfortunately split up. For Whose Advantage? seems to be the album that most people remember them by (or the Ghostbusters cover of course) and for good reason, ‘cause this is one great classic that shouldn’t be missing in any thrashers collection!

This guy means business.

So, let’s get this party started! The first song is Questions, that begins with an epic melodic dual guitar extravaganza and then continues into epic riffage that reminds me somewhat of EvilDead. The singing by Chris Astley (Brother of Rick?) is awesome, like a more aggressive sounding James Hetfield. After that it’s time for the titel track For Whose Advantage?. It starts with a bass line with a man speaking over it, and then it’s off to another great melodic intro. The riffs are simply mind-bogglingly awesome and the song has a great message:

“Invade in trust, ideals unjust
Hide your reality
Invisible truth, enslaving youth
For useless vanity”

For Whose Advantage? is truly one of the greatest thrash metal songs ever written, a masterpiece that might overshadow the rest of the album. The Human Condition  is a little short compared to the rest of the songs, but once again nothing short of awesome. A more straight forward song than the rest, but nonetheless good as shit.
New Beginnings is an amazing acoustic instrumental song that serves as (sort of) an intro to the next song, Desperate Remedies. Probably the most mosh-able song on the whole cd, because of it’s awesome intro.

Closing Comments

For Whose Advantage? is a thrash metal masterpiece that you simply have to listen. This would have made Xentrix super popular back in the day, but they were a little late to the party. In 1990 thrash was already making it’s decline and that’s why not that many people know about this. Give this one a spin and you won’t be dissapointed!

– Klikovreter

Impaler – Nightmare Attack (2009) Review

Hello thrashers and bangers! Today i have for you Nightmare Attack by Japanese thrashers Impaler. Originally released in 2009 but re-released in 2011 in Europe with three bonus tracks.

This artwork is pretty fucking cool. Just Sayin’.

The album starts off with AxPx, a cool intro song that starts out with a maniacal scream by bassist Yasushi Nishizawa. This let’s you know exactly what you are in for, some good ol’ thrash metal! The song continues seemlessly into the title track Nightmare Attack, a merciless thrashing assault with crazy vocals!. A great song that has a very catchy chorus and overall great feel.

I’m Alive is my favorite song off this album, because it’s the longest song on there (clocking in at five minutes). Most of the songs are two/three minutes and this one seems a little more ‘complicated’ than the others. This is a good time to highlight the insane vocals by both the bassist and the guitarist Kazuhiko Kill-Take. You can compare them to those of Poney (Violator), if he was on crack! Slave Of Master doesn’t waste any time. It’s a full-on thrasher, with pounding drums and an awesome guitar riff. It Even throws a blast beat in there for good fun!

Nightmare Attack comes to an end with Impaler, another great song. I’d like to call it a ‘living room mosher’ because well… it makes you fuck up your living room! This song reminds me a lot of Nuclear Assault (In the Game Over era). After that there is time to catch your breath. A very short (22 minutes) album, but definately not a waste of time.

Closing Comments

These crazy Japanese fuckers released a great album back in 2009. I recommend Nightmare Attack to any person who likes old- and new school thrash! For some people the vocals might be a little too crazy but hey, at least they aren’t cookie cutter screams! Enjoy this one!

– Klikovreter

I’m Alive

Support Impaler on Facebook!

On Youtube!