What causes a cult Swedish death metal band to come back to life after almost 30 years of silence? Not fame and fortune, at least not in the case of Toxaemia. Their roots go back to 1989, and their early demos and other recordings in 1990 and 1991 can legitimately be considered part of the pioneering sound of early Swedish death metal, but they’re not a household name in 2020. Rather than trying to cash in on a name, it’s a much better guess that this revival was spawned by one thing and one thing only: passion for the music.
Sure, you might guess that nostalgia had something to do with it, but when you hear the music they’ve now made on a debut album that gestated this long, what you feel is fire and fury. The name of that album is Where Paths Divide, and it’s set for release by Emanzipation Productions on November 20th. One single from that album (“Pestilence”) has already been released, and today we’re premiering a second one that shares the band’s name.
The current line-up of Toxaemia consists of core founding members Stevo Bolgakov (guitar, vocals) and Pontus Cervin (bass), joined by lead guitarist Rasmus Axelsson, vocalist Dennis Johansson, and drummer Per “Perra” Karlsson. We’re told that the reunion began in 2017. “Initially, it was all just to have some laughs and play some music again. The band members took it all slow and started rehearsing a little bit. Gradually they started to gel again musically. Some of the musicians had not touched their instruments since 1992 when they quit playing. They started rehearsals and played a few shows and festivals, before signing to Emanzipation and started recording their debut album.”
That album is now finished, complete with a mixing and mastering job by the great Dan Swanö. And as the label correctly describes, it sounds like it was “written and recorded with the hunger of someone working on their debut but with the experience of veterans”.
“Toxaemia” (the song) is a fine example of this. For most of its compact duration, the track flies like a bat out of hell, with an explosive ferocity that’s exhilarating. As you hang on for dear life, the drums blast and gallop, the riffing boils with the ecstasy of mayhem and remorselessly pounds like piledrivers, and the vocals veer from monstrous growls to berserker shrieks. Feverish leads flash from the onslaught like heat lightning and send the song to even greater heights of slaughtering grandeur.
There is one point when the full-bore attack seems to abate, but it’s a great digression because it makes room for an exotic, menacing guitar melody, one that adds an element of sinister seductiveness to an otherwise ravaging barrage of sound. The band also give the song a spectacular send-off with a screaming whammy-bar solo.
Pontus Cervin shared with us this comment about the song: “‘Toxaemia’ was written after Emil our previous drummer had left the band. And the last riff he wrote for us was really the starting point of this song. So we wrote more riffs around that and built the song around it”.
“Toxaemia” will be released as a stand-alone single on September 11th, and it’s available for pre-order now — as is the album as a whole, (on CD and LP) vinyl. Check the links below for more details, and also enjoy the video for that previous single “Pestilence” along with today’s premiere.
PRE-ORDER THE SINGLE: