TOXIC HOLOCAUST – Bergen – Garage
On a rainy and somewhat gloomy Tuesday night, the thrashing metal madness that is Toxic Holocaust (US) came to Bergen to lay waste to everything in sight. The band, which is the brainchild of front man Joel Grind, has been around for quite some time now and released way too many albums, EPs, split releases, and the likes for me to list here (it is a long list, okay?). Toxic Holocaust has attained a semi-legendary status in the extreme metal underground, and, as Joel Grind and his two cohorts on guitar and drums were to show us, there is a good reason why the band is popular on the live circuit.
A Norwegian band named Art of Deception was the opening act and consisted of a bunch of young dudes who clearly know how to handle their instruments. They had their own backdrop and sported their own band logo t-shirts, which I thought was pretty cool. I had never heard any of their songs before, but they played three rather long and at times complex tunes that were quite dynamic and diverse. Lots of catchy and aggressive riffs, fast parts, slow parts, heavy breakdowns, and some well-written and juicy lead-guitar fills and solos. There were also some epic arrangements here and there that worked really well in that particular live setting and got the crowd going. Art of Deception turned out to be a skilled band with potential.
Next up was a dirty and filthy DIY punk/hardcore band from Sandnes named Brekkjern, and their music was intense, repulsive, and catchy. The vocalist was totally into it and definitely had charisma, and the band as a whole was fun to watch onstage. Everything about them was in-your-face and had a "Fuck You!"-attitude to it. While their particular brand of music is not exactly my cup of urine, I found them to be entertaining. Hateful and ugly stuff for sure. If you despise yourself and/or your crappy neighbor and shitty job then check this band out on Bandcamp. It will flush your day right down the toilet.
Toxic Holocaust went on stage a little after 11 PM and everything about the setup was minimalistic and old-school. Three guys on a small stage with a cool-looking backdrop. Nothing more and nothing less. Quite a few people had turned up by now and were ready to thrash themselves into oblivion. The band delivered every hard-hitting and punchy thrash metal tune with intensity and in a very convincing manner. The songs were catchy as hell and the crowd loved them. The sound was also really good from where I was standing. Songs such as "Metal Attack", "Awaken the Serpent", "Mind Control", "I am Disease", "War is Hell", "666", "Reaper’s Grave", "Silence", and especially "Nuke the Cross" and "Bitch" worked like a charm in a live setting. The front row went ape-shit from time to time while Joel Grind was charismatic on stage and totally into the whole thing. The band only played for 55 minutes or something like that, but given that many of the songs are so short and aggressive that was really nothing to complain about as such. Overall, it was entertaining to watch and listen to Toxic Holocaust in a live setting, and I actually found it more rewarding to listen to the songs live as opposed to listening to the studio counterparts. This was underground thrash metal at its best.