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Toxic Poison - 2010 - "The Beast Is Back"

(51:13, Banksville Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Po’ Breef 6:17
2.  The God of Money 4:20
3.  I Don't Feel 6:08
4.  Mary 4:30
5.  Wherever You Want 4:51
6.  Nevermore 6:20
7.  Joe 4:20
8.  Beautiful 5:37
9.  Moonchild 4:49
10. Bluejada 10:18


Teo – bass; vocals
Marco – vocals 
Alo – guitars 
Pit – drums 
Paolo Baltaro – organ 

Prolusion. Italy’s TOXIC POISON started out 10 years ago, and issued their first album "Nothing's Forever" back in 2002. Three years later "Cold Hate Hot Blood" would follow. From what I can gather from their homepage, some line-up changes followed in 2008, after which they started working on a new album. "The Beast Is Back" is the third album by the band, and was issued in January 2010.

Analysis. While my understanding of the Italian language isn't great, the few articles I have come across about this band describe it as something of a thrash metal outfit with nu-metal aspirations, referencing bands like Soulfly and Slayer, the last of which the previous incarnation of this group covered. After getting familiar with this most recent effort by Toxic Poison, it's obvious that they have changed their stylistic repertoire vastly in this revised version of the band. What we're treated to on this occasion is first and foremost a retro-oriented affair, taking us on a journey to the late ‘70s and early ‘80s hard rock and metal territories, sometimes quite successfully. Opening track The God of Money is a charming energetic affair pretty similar to late ‘70s Riot, and the following song, I Don't Feel, is a slower and heavier affair taking inspirations from the more doom- or stoner-oriented parts of the early ‘80s metal scene. Later on Nevermore, hypnotic repetitive swirling guitars are featured with a subtle, but highly effective, organ backdrop in the verse parts, and a heavier, grinding metal-based chorus that serves as a highly effective contrast. And, disregarding the lacklustre intro and chaotic drawn-out outro, final piece Bluejada offers quite a few fine moments as well, adding some space-tinged details to the energetic, swirling guitar that drive the song. The rest of this album is a rather forgettable affair though. Unsuccessful attempts to replicate acts like AC/DC and Thin Lizzy, the not-so-aptly- named tune Beautiful that comes across as a generic U2 clone in metal coating, and a metal remake of Rory Gallagher's Moonchild which, while energetic, is the kind of song I hope will be erased from my memory bank sooner rather than later. The performance given is of good enough quality, but the songs as such fail to convince me. Basically I get the impression that this band really isn't too well versed in crafting songs in a retro manner, at least when it comes to numbers that are more hard rock then heavy metal oriented. With the aforementioned line-up and stylistic changes this act has taken, my conclusion so far is that Toxic Poison was in something of a transitional state when this album was made. Hopefully the end result will be better next time around.

Conclusion. "The Beast Is Back" is a rather lacklustre affair, focusing on a style of music that most likely won't appeal to those with a fascination for progressive rock or metal. Late ‘70s hard rock and early ‘80s metal seem to be the main inspirations for this act, and those with a keen interest in this kind of material might possibly find some of the tracks on this disc to their liking. Overall, this is an underwhelming affair and one that merits the description ‘approach with caution’.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 15, 2010
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Banksville Records
Toxic Poison


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