Toxic Holocaust In Vancouver: Live Review

By on 29 January 2014


Raging metal punk squad Toxic Holocaust hit Vancouver last week in a whirlwind of booze, denim jackets and riffs as part of a killer bill that also included Mammoth grinder, Ramming Speed and Ogroem. Terrorizer’s Rich Taylor was there to pick up the pieces…


The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, January 23rd 2014

Vancouver might not be in the grips of the ‘polar vortex’ that’s turning the East Coast into an Immortal video set, but it’s still chilly enough to get the crusties and thrashers packed into the Biltmore Cabaret early for local grind troupe Ogroem. The four-piece set about careening through a set that veers from the neck-snappingly fast to the pummellingly heavy, and is laden with vicious breakdowns and pretension-free silliness: “This one’s about when you’re working out with your bros and getting all sweaty – it’s called ‘Cum in me Bro’, show me your muscles!” being pretty standard. These guys have come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months, and with quality stage presence (drummer John Grindall almost throwing himself over his kit mid-breakdown for example) and ample grind quirks they are definitely a band to watch out for.

Ogroem’s frantic energy infect a crowd eager for action, and when Ramming Speed charge onto the stage with an arsenal of galloping riffs and squealing leads, it’s fair to say that shit kicked off. Sweating beer and no-nonsense thrashing fun, vocalist Peter Gallagher barely stops hurtling around the stage to holler maniacally into his mic along to NWOBHM harmonies and speeding American death thrash savagery. Ramming Speed spew forth their shitmix of crossover, thrash, grind and death metal with precision and ferocity, and the crowd gleefully swallow it up, putting more than a few grins on faces and
beers in the air.

 Mammoth Grinder follow by slowing things down by about 15 notches and treating the now sizeable audience to what would best be described as an aural organ rearrangement. Sounding like the bastard love-child of Obituary and Godflesh that’s been kept in an attic and fed only hallucinogens for 12 years, Mammoth Grinder fill the now bustling Biltmore with horrifying John Tardy-esque UARGH’s, and absolutely cavernous, bowel-evacuation threatening riffs. Bones rattle and heads are involuntarily dragged to the floor and back up again along to these hypnotically heavy and bass-drenched tracks, and for 25 minutes all consciousness is surrendered to the power of the URGH.

The audience barely have time to reinsert their brains before headliners Toxic Holocaust take the stage to yells from a rabid horde of well-sauced and battle-jacket clad lunatics, and their balls-to-the-wall crossover immediately inspires a frenzy of stage-dives, circle pits and wholesome thrashing chaos. Mastermind Joel Grind and co charge through a set of material old and new, dedicating songs to “the metal punks”, “the Satanists”, and “all the lovely thrashing ladies out there” in turn, all the while keeping the pace breakneck and the adrenaline pumping. There’s barely pause for breath between songs throughout their 75 minute set, but the glee and aggression that these guys evoke means the carnage doesn’t let up, and the heads keep on banging. Gasping that “this is really our last song, because we haven’t practised anymore… we suck!” before leading one last blazing stand, Joel and his bandmates show why they are among the most enduring and genuine crossover bands of the modern generation.

As the dust settles and the Biltmore clears, the spent crowd disperses grinning into the foggy Vancouver night; the January chill forgotten after this evening of frantic aggression and summertime fun.

WORDS: Rich Taylor

You can find Toxic Holocaust on Facebook.

About Kez Whelan

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