Album Review: Toxocara – AtmosFear
Band: Toxocara (The Netherlands)
Album: AtmosFear (2011)
Genre: (Technical) Death Metal
Sidestepping their Brutal Death Metal roots, Dutch quintet Toxocara have embraced a slightly different angle on their third album AtmosFear. Understandable, given the significant line-up change they underwent, but at least there are some remnants of the older style, now mixed in with some industrial and Tech-Death touches. Their main aims seem to be intensity and speed, both of which they achieve with much aplomb, and display a maturity that can only be gained from each of the members having his own respective bands on the side.
Ignoring the frankly strange title-track intro of children singing, the first proper track Black Widow kicks off nicely with a blazing fury of Technical Death Metal, powered by human drum-machine William Vlierman, who dominates much of the album. An echo of The Monolith Deathcult is present (logically given they share Martijn Moes as guitarist), but they also incorporate elements of Obscura in the solos from Moes and Vince Zwarts, and some tasteful melodic lines.
Barry Geerligs’ bass is audible and present, but not completely grabbing. Niels Feekes’ vocal delivery is mostly a semi-intelligible Corpsegrinder-style grunt, but he begins to mix things up on Confession of the Black Regiment with some Hardcore shouts, and an unknown female vocalist guest on the final track The Red House Report, turning the music more doomy and Gothic in feel.
Something which is new to the Toxocara sound is the inclusion of synths, most prominently on Moryty Holodom, which includes synth-choirs akin to Illdisposed’s later work. This particular part works well, although the sci-fi gun-blast noises on The Kempeitai Hordes… are a bit grating after a while.
One other major change to Toxocara’s style is the length of the songs, which are now mostly around six minutes long, augmented with sampling such as the Japanese gong in The Kempeitai Hordes of Hirohito or the war film inserted into Bravo Two Zero. What this sampling unfortunately does is make the other tracks a bit less memorable (Towards the Perpetual Labyrinth). The almost requisite folk interlude is, however, more than welcome before heading back into the fray.
Most of the track titles make it clear that this album is dealing with the topic of war, like their previous releases, such as the aforementioned Japanese secret army or the Ukrainian genocidal catastrophe of Moryty Holodom. The topic is hardly a novel one, but the band tackle it well, although it’s a shame I don’t have the lyrics to further analyze them. This style of Death Metal is a path that has been trodden many a time before, but Toxocara certainly have created a strong effort. Maybe not one for the veterans who’ve heard it before, but people looking into mature Technical Death Metal should definitely give this a blast.
My Grade: 7.5/10
Buy this when:
- you like Technical Death Metal
- you love albums with drums at the forefront
- electronic / industrial influences aren’t a turn-off
- you like WAR