“Four horses approaching you/ Breathing pestilent winds/ Bringing their nuclear fire,” snarls Toxic Holocaust’s Joel Grind on “Judgment Awaits You” from Conjure & Command, released this year on Upper Darby’s Relapse Records. Grind’s been sharing his dark fantasies since the late-1990s, when he started recording in his Portland, Ore., home, playing all the instruments himself. Raised on horror films, death metal, black metal and hardcore, he was always a scene outlaw. But his cohesive vision was masterfully conveyed even on his first cassette demos: alarming speed, heinous riffs, screaming lead guitars, a ferocious but articulate growl and a wonderfully apocalyptic perspective. His world is one where the enemy’s unknowable—“The killer’s loose on the streets/ But you’d never know it/ He could be you or me,” he warns on “Nowhere To Run.” Since, the toxic beast lurks within us all, the only solution is to thrash or be thrashed.
Wed., Aug. 17, 8pm. $10. With Holy Grail + Krum Bums. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
PW's Music Issue 2014