Toxic Holocaust hit the road after the release of their new album "Chemistry of Consciousness" with Exhumed and Ramming Speed. All three set to lay waste to every square inch of earth they could get their hands on. The new album is heavy and crammed with so much evil thrash you might want to take a shower afterwards. On February 15th they were booked to play the Marquis Theater and my band Gomorrah was somehow picked to open the show. The hype surrounding this show was going on for weeks and everyone knew it was going to be the rager of all ragers. Then two days before, a cold snap came through and Denver was shit on with below zero temperatures and ice the whole week. It sucked but everyone knows if you're a Denver metalhead and you pussy out just because it's cold, then you might as well stay home and listen to your Avenged Sevenfold cd collection because that's how lame you are.
Chock full of beer and hatred, the bands rocked the subzero temperatures and outdid all the metal shows that happened in recent weeks. Everything about it was beyond awesome, from the perfect sound to the killer vibes of the audience; Even the unfortunate incident involving my teeth and an elbow in a stage dive couldn't dampen the experience.
Gomorrah and I showed up around five, and at five thirty everyone got word that Ramming Speed wouldn't be making the show due to van issues, which left Toxic Holocaust, Exhumed and us, three 18 year old guys. When we got up on stage to do our thing the crowd was... skeptical. That would be the right word for it, but a few songs in there were circle pits, stage diving, and murder in the front row. Ripping through the "No Future" demo, new songs and the ever crowd pleasing "Black Metal" by Venom, we successfully opened the show in a way only mile high thrashers know how too. The crowd got into it and even Joel Grind gave us his approval after we stopped hoarding him for pictures and autographs for our vinyls.
Exhumed were next up, and heavy amounts of gore were on the menu. Matt Harvey might not vomit on stage anymore, but the riffs were so heavy the hipsters at the bars across the street had to plug their fragile ears. Just a couple months earlier they had been through Denver for the Black Sky festival, but the extensive touring didn't do anything to lessen the assault that exhumed has been producing since 1990. They went through a great balance of all six of their albums, using all of their over the top stage antics like chainsaw, defibrillators, and PBR in beer bongs. If only a man could be revived from a heart attack with alcohol. That would be a world I'd like to live in.
Toxic Holocaust obviously owned the night with a relentless and evil set of complete heavy metal anarchy. Before going to this show I admit I never listened to much Toxic Holocaust, not because I didn't like them, but they seemed to have "Motorhead Syndrome." Every song and album sounded similar, with few variations in the mix and style. That being said, seeing them live was almost like a religious experience; it was easier to hear and see the different attitudes and grooves they got on every single song. After the first few songs I was kicking myself in the face and yelling "what the fuck was I thinking" in my head, they totally changed my opinion of them. The band was tight, but with the edge of a 1980s thrash band that likes to spray paint upside down crosses in their garage. It was refreshing to see Toxic Holocaust finally with a concrete line up, instead of two musician-for-hire guys and Joel Grind.
At this point in the night the crowd was fairly rowdy and not willing to leave the place in good shape. The pits blew up hard and people (including me) were stage diving off the monitors; as it damn well should be at a thrash show. What ever happened to kids diving off the speakers into a crowd and hurting themselves? That's just something you don't see at a giant show and that's sad. Toxic continued with songs from their new album including "Acid Fuzz," a song with one of the coolest videos I've seen in a while. They ended the show with an encore of "666" and "Bitch," since the crowd had been yelling for those songs since the beginning of the set. I was stoked it was dedicated to all of us "satanic motherfuckers" out there who can't wake up without a good dose of Venom in the morning.
Denver is growing into one of the best cities in the country for relentless heavy metal, and this show proved that the spirit can't run out in high altitude. The thrashers, and heshers that packed it from wall to wall was amazing, right out of a 1980's metal documentary. In thirty years were going to be talking about Toxic Holocaust in the same vein as Kreator, Sodom, Slayer, and Venom, with good reason. Every band on this show was ridiculously good and should be around for a long, long time, which guarantees another generation or two of heavy metal thunder.