Artist: Biotoxic Warfare
Label: Slaney Records
It’s surprising to note the amount of thrash coming out of Greece that actually seems to be semi-related. In the shadows of the now relatively well known Suicidal Angels, these Greek thrashers seem to be taking heavy inspiration from the Teutonic greats like Sodom and Kreator, as well as Bay Area standouts Exodus. They’re still thrash to the core, but the dark edge their ancestors had is still there—there’s hardly any death metal compared to someone like Kreator.
Biotoxic Warfare is trying to buck the trend, apparently—labeled as death/thrash on their Bandcamp, Lobotomized takes the chance to spread their wings and decide speed is the not the answer, preferring to refer to the raw riffing and structures that death metal allows them. Eschewing the slowly becoming more common manic vocals, the band takes the chance to push their vocalist with a slightly harsher tone. It’s meant to accompany the dark tones embodied by the fascinating (and surprisingly gripping) album art.
Biotoxic Warfare is clearly composed of competent musicians, and nothing on this album screams that they’re overly amateur—for a thrash band, at the very least.
Where Lobotomized suffers is on its act of pretending to break the thrash mold while hardly playing any cards that are willing to mix it up. The big issue, by and large, is tempo. I spent almost every song on this album waiting for it to kick into gear, and aside from the last two tracks, I felt like I was consistently on the initial hill of a roller coaster. I sincerely think there isn’t a roller coaster in this world where the first drop you take is three quarters of the way through the ride.
Speed is what makes thrash work, and if you don’t have it, then it needs to be justified. It’s relative, of course—I’m not saying everyone has to outpace Dark Angel—but if you’re going to take a genre that was born to shred skin at the speed of sound, then by God you’d better be doing something creative.
You’d think that would be where the death metal aspects would come in for Biotoxic Warfare, but at best they seem half-baked. The album’s reliance on thrashy riffs and transitions played at speed typical of death metal makes the repetitive nature of thrash all too clear. In the end, if there any clear death metal elements, they’re playing second fiddle to a thrash structure that’s failing to grip audiences.
On top of this, the vocals feel strained and gross—without the ripping thrash riffs to undercut it, it all seems very throaty and somewhat difficult to listen to.
Nothing on Lobotomized feels wrong, so to speak, or even blindly derivative. It just feels lackluster.