Töxik Death – Sepulchral Demons Review

I’ve liked the descriptor of “meat and potatoes” since I was a child eating off a plastic Hercules promotional plate. The animated Disney Hercules graced the plate – my favorite of the small set my parents got as some sort of promotion, perhaps through McDonald’s where my grandmother worked – and appeared with the quote “I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy.” I share this attribute with cartoon Hercules, as the basics make me happy. Töxik Death is a band in touch with the basics. One look at Sepulchral Demons’ cover at a record store and you confidently buy it as a metalhead. One minute of listening and you’ll get exactly what the band is going for. One spin later, you’ve heard a good record and want to listen again.

As the astute reader could guess by the spelling, Töxik Death plays thrash metal that, like Deathhammer, straddles the speed metal line as well. A comparison that sprung to mind for me rather quickly was the thoroughly underrated Antichrist, specifically their Forbidden World record. There are obvious parallels to the aforementioned Deathhammer as well, though the vocals are less over the top. For those unfamiliar with those points of reference, Töxik Death play speed-infused thrash metal that culls from the early Teutonic scene and early Slayer. Sepulchral Demons sounds like a product borne of the 80s, and that sits just fine with me.

If Sepulchral Demons had been released in the 80s, Metalion’s Slayer mag would have written about it and doubtlessly included a big “YEZZ” somewhere in their review. Slayer liked most things that weren’t overtly trendy and sounded extreme, and doubtlessly helped build much of the excitement for classic extreme music which still exists today. Töxik Death feeds on this excitement, and successfully instills it in the listener. “Savage Nights” sees the vocals inch towards melody effectively, and the riffing, while workmanlike, is good. “Malicious Assassin” has an almost punky (via Slayer, naturally) chorus riff that’s pleasantly catchy, and the song itself doesn’t let off the gas pedal and uses its three-and-one-third minutes well.

The biggest flaw of Sepulchral Demons is that’s it’s by and large merely good. Töxik Death don’t traffic in big riffs, but instead go for tight, energetic songs with quality thrash/speed metal riffs throughout. The benefit here is that if you want no-frills thrash/speed played in an agreeable manner that asks little more of you than to bang your head and have a good time, Töxik Death has you covered. It’s not as good as Antichrist’s Forbidden World, which depending on how much of this niche the reader wishes to hear may be a major stumbling block. While I cannot recommend any specific song over any other as each one stays at a nearly uniformly consistent level of good quality, Sepulchral Demons was on a whole an enjoyable listen and doesn’t overstay its welcome at a taut thirty-two minutes. I found myself drawn back to the overall aesthetic and experience Töxik Death put to tape here as opposed to this or that riff, moment, or individual song. Put differently, this is a highly competent exercise in genre aesthetics, and delivered with enough passion, panache, and precision to make it a worthwhile and recommended listen.

What aids this aesthetic noticeably is the production, which to my ears is stellar. Töxik Death sounds old but not dated, though nonetheless cleaner than classic Sodom and Kreator. Once again, the ideal reference point is Antichrist’s Forbidden World, another wonderfully produced record of this type. The great drumming performance stands out by sounding real, not replaced or quantized, but done by a real, live drummer on real, live drums. This adds real energy to the record, much like it does with Deathhammer. This sounds like a performance, which is often the difference between truly modernized metal and these releases which draw from the well, still far from dry, of the 80s extreme metal scene championed by Slayer mag. Bass is even nicely audible, and does a great job helping with the lead in “Sadistic Sorcery.” A common misconception held by many is that records less than great aren’t worth hearing. Sepulchral Demons is a good record that does what it wants to do well and gives fans of a narrow niche some good cuts of fresh meat to chew on. I hope the reader gives it the chance it deserves and finds much to like as I did.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: High Roller Records
Website: facebook.com/ToxikDeath
Releases Worldwide: August 21st, 2020

« »