Review: “Fuel the Fire” by Tonic Breed
“The re-branding of Tonic Breed came to life after the lineup was divided. All the other previous band members started their new band projects, but I had not that same momentum going on at the time. I did not then, or have never since, considered making this a full band again to play live shows with Tonic Breed. At the same time, I had a couple of unfinished songs I wanted to finish. So after a little while, I started to take action and continue my musical path as well. The songs I worked with then were meant for a new project. Every now and then on this journey, I did consider officially ending Tonic Breed with a statement to our fans from time to time. You know, instead of just silently fading away. So while this was happening in one part of my brain, I thrived forward with my songs in another. I experimented with different images and styles of music (within the metal genre). Eventually, I also came up with the idea of having guests onboard. But instead of creating something new, I restarted something old. Small details made me choose this path. Not to forget, it was very spontaneous. My logic at the time was that by releasing the singles within the old name, the fanbase was already there. The music was not too different after all. Also, it gave me reasons to talk about the previous albums and continue to boost life in those. There are many reasons I think back on this choice. If we’re going to look at the practical ones, I have learned that to re-brand a band must be more difficult than starting up something new. But hey, the choice is made, and it is too late to turn around now” ~ Patrik K. Svendsen
After an initial run between 2006 and 2019 as a quartet releasing albums “Outsold” in 2014 and “Install Memory” in 2018, the line up of Tonic Breed began to drift away, leaving Patrik K. Svendsen the last man standing. Deciding to continue the journey rather than give up the ghost, with a clenched fist of determination, four fresh cuts with five special guests were recorded over an 18 month period with multiple sound engineers from different countries and the result of that undertaking is “Fuel the Fire“.
The title track gets things off to an impressive start with both early Metallica and early Pantera influence in a blend of raw and energetic Thrash with some solid Groove Metal moments that even find time for a couple of bursts of Black Metal inspired blast beats from Dirk Verbeuren. It’s a cut that sounds like it’s straight out of the late eighties or early nineties with all the hallmarks of the era that all you to the mosh pit to snap your neck. Bleeding from the same vein “No Rocks on the Scotch” adds some dark spoken word elements, the Abbott brothers guitar and drum sound at its beating black heart adding a nostalgic homage to the legends while at the same time having a life of its own.
After the opening conjoined twins “H.E. Antagonist” flies off in another direction, diving into some Melodic Death Metal flavored Thrash after a haunting oriental introduction. It’s fearfully addictive with the kind of earworm riff that doesn’t get out of your head and once added to the sing-a-long chorus “A freight train’s coming, Lethal load, deadly vision, A freight train’s coming, An oblivious ride“, it’s one of those cuts that lives long in the memory having been executed to perfection. At the time of writing, single “Blood Moon” already has the better part of 365k streams having been released just over a year ago, which should tell you all you need to know about what could well be the new direction of the project. It’s most experimental piece that is steeped in Scandinavian heritage and arguably the furthest away from the Tonic Breed sound, it speaks of resurrection with a dark, stomping and sinister quality. This is a collection of songs you need to hear, so what are you waiting for? [8/10]
1. Fuel the Fire ft. Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth), Bernt Jansen (Artch, Wig Wam)
2. No Rocks on the Scotch ft. Björn Strid (Soilwork), Martin Skriubakken (Endezzma)
3. H.E. Antagonist ft. Oliver Palotai (Kamelot) (guitar solo)
4. Blood Moon
“Fuel the Fire” by Tonic Breed is out now