Has it really been 20 years?! Joel Grind came onto the scene, I remember being excited about the first couple of full-length releases (there were a fair few splits and demo releases also), I still remember the vibrant vinyl of ‘Hell on Earth’ with that majestic artwork and presentation. Moving along, this entity Toxic Holocaust has kept the flag flying for crossover thrash, there’s a fair few who have joined the cause, but strength and quality has always been one of this artists major selling points. There’s always been a darker element to the vocals and other bands have subsequently carried that torch further forward. However, with this release, Joel Grind (who plays everything) keeps the quality high and manages to make the recording sound like a genuine band recording.

Opener ‘Chemical Warlords’ is a thrash fest, the speedier follow up ‘Black out the Code’ is more or less a perfection in high octane thrash. The real quality comes to the front with the title track ‘Primal Future’ and beyond. This isn’t so fast, its more mature thrash, but still retaining its raw edge and a great rhythm bringing on some future neck pain. ‘Iron Cage’ adds the punk edge, speeds up the momentum and obliterates speakers when played at an unreasonable volume. Whilst more may point towards Municipal Waste, more recently Iron Regan, Power Trip, Toxic Holocaust still have the gold card. Certainly Venom and Midnight lovers could be in for an enjoyable experience with this track. Moving on too ‘Aftermath’ the speed is here, an album of two halves? Well, kind of, I just think from the title track onwards the real pleasurable songs shine through.

Overall, ‘Primal Future’ gets your blood boiling, your fists in the air and excitement levels should be at a respectable level. There are no curveballs, Joel Grind does what he has done best for the last two decades. Of recent times, this is a killer release and right up there with Toxic Holocaust’ classics. For me, it’s the most exciting album since the first couple of full lengths released way back when. Just to note, the last couple were pretty good in my opinion too.

One final note to mention, there is a fantastic tour coming up later this year to these shores, with Municipal Waste and death metal messiahs Skeletal Remains joining Toxic Holocaust, the prospect of an enjoyable evening is a given.

(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)