Heads banging hard, hair whipping around, and bodies flying about. Such was the scene on Monday night as TOXIC HOLOCAUST and RAMMING SPEED came to shred at Three Links in Deep Ellum. Man, I couldn’t believe just how crowded the place was for a Monday night, which only made the bands work harder, thus making the show even better. And of course, when there’s a big crowd, people-watching is a great way to kill time between bands, right?
I arrived at the club just in time to catch the boys in RAMMING SPEED deliver a short, but killer set, much to the delight of the packed room. The only knock against them, and really it wasn’t their fault, was that vocalist Peter Gallagher’s mic was nowhere near loud enough, and if you weren’t familiar with their music you wouldn’t know which song was which. The glue that held them together though was clearly drummer Jonah Livingston who looked calm and cool as a cucumber the whole time they were up there. Another thing I can say is that the recorded CD does NOT do this band justice. You really need to experience them live to get it. I had the chance to talk with Jonah briefly at the end of the night and I told him as such, while making plans to hook up for an interview when this run ends in about two weeks.
After what seemed like an eternity (not really, I just had no interest in watching MAMMOTH GRINDER or EXHUMED) midnight rolled around and TOXIC HOLOCAUST took the stage. Now, since I started attending metal shows here in Dallas one thing I’ve noticed is a ton of TH patches on a ton of denim battle vests. There is definitely a fanatical fan base here and last night they were out in full force, especially the female ones, which is always awesome to see, especially the young lady stage diver who launched herself into the crowd midway through the set.
Singer/guitarist Joel Grind, drummer Nick Bellmore, and bassist Phil Zeller wasted no time getting us all fired up with the opening three-point play of “Metal Attack”, “Wild Dogs”, and “War Is Hell”, the latter two from outstanding thrashterpiece An Overdose of Death. Three Links was just a sea of banging heads at this point, as Joel urged everyone to get the pit going and they happily obliged. One of my favorites “666” (for obvious reasons!) was next, followed by “Death Brings Death” and “Endless Armageddon”. With this song selection it was clear that the boys from Oregon were on a mission to wreck some necks, and believe me, I felt it in mine this morning. During the madness, one of the RAMMING SPEED guitarists also took part in the stage diving festivities. I told you this was a crazy night!
Two more classics in “I Am Disease” and “Reaper’s Grave” were served up before the band finally pulled out some stuff from newest and arguably their best album Chemistry of Consciousness. “Awaken the Serpent” had even more of a bite than on the record, and “MK Ultra” also seemed to have twice the attitude as its studio counterpart. Another kickass moment came with “In the Name of Science” before the TOXIC HOLOCAUST train slowed down for all of 40 seconds at the beginning of “Agony of the Damned”, then proceeded to jam the throttle all the way down the rest of the night. “The Lord of the Wasteland”, “Nuke the Cross”, and set closer “Bitch” drew some of the loudest screams, yells, fist pumps, and devil horns of the evening before it was all over and Joel happily proclaimed, “It’s fuckin’ whiskey time!”
For 15 songs and 45 minutes TOXIC HOLOCAUST delivered a series of thrash metal kicks to the balls and a boot up the fucking ass. That’s what we wanted and THAT’S what we got. This was my first TOXIC HOLOCAUST gig, but by no means will it be my last. There are only six shows left on this tour, so if you live in one of those remaining cities make sure you get out there and rage with Mr. Grind and Co. Believe me, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t!