Toxic Holocaust is an American black/thrash metal band. Characterized by their unabashedly retro leanings and love of all things raw, filthy, and d-beat-laden, they have worked their way up through the thrash pack just through sheer hard work and determination.
Formed in Portland, Oregon in 1999 by Joel Grind and two unknown members, the band quickly released a demo before Joel threw the two other members out and called it quits for a while until he resurrected the band in 2001 as a one-man project, with session members being drafted as needed for live shows. After several demos and splits, Evil Never Dies was released in 2003 and quickly gained the attention of the underground; two years and untold amounts of splits and comps later, their sophomore release came in the form of Hell on Earth, which was released via the Nuclear War Now! Productions label. Multiple tours followed and the band began to gain some serious momentum, and even more steam was built when the band signed a contract with Relapse Records. An Overdose of Death..., their first full-length on the label, was released in 2008, and it marked the first time since 1999 that someone other than Joel played on the album, as Donny Paycheck from Zeke contributed session drums. To meet the touring demands that being on a bigger label brought, Phil "Philthy Gnaast" Zeller and Alan "Al Positions" Chambers from Rammer joined in on bass and drums full-time, though Chambers ducked out in 2009 and was replaced by Nick "Nikki Rage" Bellmore. More touring followed, and Conjure and Command, their first full-length with a full band, was released in 2011. Things have stayed steady since then; no lineup shifts have occurred, the touring has been heavy, the splits and comps have been innumerable, and Chemistry of Consciousness, their latest full-length, was released in 2013. It's not a stretch to suggest that everything will continue to go swimmingly.
Discography (due to the massive amount of demos, singles, splits, and comps, only the full-lengths will be covered):
- Evil Never Dies (2003)
- Hell on Earth (2005)
- An Overdose of Death... (2008)
- Conjure and Command (2011)
- Chemistry of Consciousness (2013)
- Primal Future: 2019 (2019)
This band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Album Title Drop: "Feedback, Blood and Distortion" from An Overdose of Death...
- Black Metal: Takes heavy influence from the first wave.
- Burn the Witch!: "Bitch" is about this, with a healthy dose of Church Militant.
- Child Popstar: Joel was no older than seventeen when he started the band as a bedroom project.
- Genre Popularizer: Along with Municipal Waste, they were this for retro thrash. While they were not the first to play it (Dekapitator and Hypnosia had emerged on the scene a couple years earlier, but never gained much traction), Joel emerged on MySpace and the message board/blog/filesharing circuit playing dirty punk-thrash/d-beat and managed to attract both the attention of kids who had themselves discovered old acts and had little interest in the then-nascent melodic metalcore movement, and old thrashers and punks who also had no interest in the new crop of emergent heavy acts but were impressed by a young kid playing the music that they had grown up on. Put simply, while Municipal Waste gave it the mainstream attention that it needed in order to take off, Toxic Holocaust gave it the underground attention and spiritually paved the way for things like the Thrash Unlimited message boards and other underground strongholds of the movement.
- Hardcore Punk: Heavily influenced by early hardcore and d-beat, and especially the more metal-influenced Japanese d-beat acts.
- Heavy Meta: A very frequent lyrical theme.
- "I Am" Song: "Wild Dogs", among others.
- I Am the Band: Joel Grind, especially when it literally was just him.
- Miniscule Rocking: They have quite a few songs under two minutes, enough to make listing them all exhausting.
- Rock Trio: Since 2009.
- Signature Style: Simple, punk-tinged riffing, rasped vocals, lots of shout-along choruses, and lots of d-beats.
- Start My Own: Joel has several other solo projects and an on-again, off-again punk-thrash project named Tiger Junkies with Yasuyuki Suzuki of Abigail and Barbatos.
- Teen Genius: Joel was still in high school when he started the band as a bedroom project and quietly started to make the rounds on message boards and blogs.
- Thrash Metal
- Three Chords and the Truth
- War Is Hell: "WAR! IS! FUCKING HELL!"