The Swedish cult death metal band Toxaemia from the 1980s has returned this year with their first ever full-length album “Where Paths Divide” via the Danish label Emanzipation. And their comeback doesn’t sound like a big surprise or a sheer experiment, it’s just simple death metal for die-hard fans, intense and fierce.
Their first demos were warmly received 30 years ago by the fans of a newly formed death metal genre, but alas, after three years of existence, they’ve decided to disband. But three years ago, the bass-guitarist Pontus Cervin and guitarist Stevo Bolgakoff from the first line-up invited some professional musicians to renew their former band. So after almost thirty years of silence Toxaemia now returns with a hefty mix of classical and modern melodic death metal, aiming to reach out to all extreme metal lovers.
Despite the utterly classical approach regarding death metal genre, Toxaemia managed to add some extra elements, making this release not so traditionally boring. Melodic parts sometimes sound so over-styled, that it appears, that the brutality and heaviness of ruthless death metal isn’t the main goal of this album, because these melodic lines are not a rare phenomenon on this record (especially on tracks like “Six-Fold Revenge” or even a death’n’roll piece “Toxaemia”). The groovy sound is not also uncommon for Toxaemia, so the modern song “Delusions” and a bit metalcore-influenced “Six-Fold Revenge” make this album not so old-school and numb.
This isn’t a fast album, it varies from mid-tempo till extremely doomy slow rhythmic patterns (like the last song “Hate Within”). Of course, there are some speedy tracks or accelerated passages throughout this record (like “Delusions” or “Leprosy”), but the fastest elements are based on some crazy chaotic guitar riffs, diversifying “Where Paths Divide” in non-standard manner. Technically there aren’t too much progressive elements, the guitar riffs are catchy, but a bit primitive and minimalistic, and guitar solos aren’t also tuned to a too-complicated level. The singing technique is mostly performed in growling style, harsh and low, but sometimes there can be found some sort of half-screaming, but the vocal lines are just another musical instrument here, they are not extraordinary or out of concept. The thrashiest songs are based on heavy metal foundation (like “Pestilence”), as well as the most atmospheric track “Betrayal” with sad guitar riffs.
The sound on this album isn’t too modern, it is quintessential to death metal scene of 90s, so no wonder, that Dan Swanö is responsible for the mastering, creating an unique nostalgic blast for those who is fond of extreme metal scene of 1990s. The cover art also represents the typical death metal clichés with motives of hell, death, and desolation, adding some extra bloodiness in colours. So, it was anticipated and traditional comeback and tribute to all these predictable death metal loyalties, but with a tinge of individual approach and modern vibes.
Release date: November 20, 2020
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