American speed/thrash metal.
Toxik - World Circus (Roadrunner) 1988
Yet another speed metal/thrash feast from Roadrunner Records. Toxik are in the same league with bands like Agent Steel and Realm. They somehow manage to be technical and pretty darn aggressive without losing a good sense of good songwriting. While the music is straight forward thrash, the band also has a flair for groove and memorable hooks and licks. The vocals are a big selling point here. Mike Sanders' high pitched, falsetto vocals are in the same league as Rob Halford and John Cyriis. Some of the highlights here are the extremely fast "Heart Attack" and the awesome "Count Your Blessings", especially the amazing intro - this is lead guitar that would impress any fan of shredding guitar antics. "Pain and Misery" is an early precursor to the stop/start riff work that Pantera became known for. Really the whole disc is quite amazing. I wish bands were still putting out music of this caliber.
Toxik - Think This (Roadrunner) 1989
"Think This" was the band's sophomore follow-up to their critically acclaimed "World Circus." This disc is pure, unadulterated speed metal complete with blazing solos, fast riffs, plenty of riff and tempo changes within each song and high, intense, majestic vocals. New vocalist Charlie Sabin, replacing vocalist Mike Sanders, also has one of those high, clean styles that are straight out of the John Cyriis/Geoff Tate school of heavy metal singing. The vocals together with the aggressive thrash riffing is absolutely outstanding, and straddles and should also appeal to power metal fans as well. The production here is quite good as well, although the mastering on the CD is a bit low overall. I'd be willing to bet that the vinyl version has a warmer sound. However, the guitars are crunchy, the recording is crisp and the drums are pummeling, although not out in the front of the mix. For some reason this type of ultra-technical speed metal took a major dive in popularity to the more brutal styles of thrash metal and eventually death metal. It's a shame because I personally think that this type of mixture of power metal and thrash is the perfect blend. Bands like Toxik, Realm, Agent Steel and Powermad are among my favorites of the thrash metal genre. "Out of the Tiles" is a Led Zeppelin cover.