Review: “Be The Fire And Wish For The Wind” by Toxicon

Formed in 2014 with roots that go back to 2012 Australian Metallers Toxicon self describe as a “Hybrid Metal” act who like to experiment with Thrash, Nu-Metal, Progressive and Alternative Metal in forging their sound. The quintet were liberated by the release of their debut album “Purge” in 2016 and after a couple of tour runs in their homeland they settled back into writing and recording a sophomore album. Over a two year period that saw then pre-produce 30 cuts but ended with the departure of guitarist and founding member Paul Jones in 2020, something which by their own admission saw the band lose their spark. In their hour of need, along came Bart Walters and after a few rehearsals in 2021 the bonfire was once again lit. Whittled down from those 30 cuts, 11 make it onto “Be The Fire And Wish For The Wind”, the second chapter of the bands career which has plenty of intrigue about it. While they say never judge a book by it’s cover, not judging the album until you’ve heard it all applies to this one and for good reason because while the first few cuts are solid it’s after that that the album truly ascends.

Chunky Groove Metal riffs light the way as opening cut “(Dis)connected” brings the album to life, vocalist Wayne Clarris bringing an intelligent lyric while showing off his clean and unclean skills to leave us with a cut that takes a page from the Light The Torch playbook. A solid enough start but lacking a real gut punch moment to lift it which leaves it feeling like perhaps it should be a mid album offering rather than placed front and center. Similarly, an anthemic chorus in “Parallelysis” provides a nice sing or scream along to hold it together, orientating around a cleverly put together narrative about the day to day struggles of being a musician and the personal sacrifices it takes not necessarily to make it but to simply try and you can feel the weight of emotion behind it. The intricate solo in “Fear Itself” is a nice touch and the lyrics of insomnia caused by anxiety will resonate with anyone who has been there but it’s the “Black” era Metallica style riff of “Deletist” that grabs the attention. A punchier cut, it feels like it should have been the opener on the record with those Thrashier vibes giving it more edge and there are even some vocal parts from Clarris which sound like they’re approaching rap screams.

After four sub four minute cuts, the near nine minute epic Symphonic Progressive Metal tinged “Husk” is a dramatic twist in the tale with an introspective lyric and after the first four cuts it almost feels like the work of another band. In isolation it’s a wonderful piece of music, melancholic almost to the point of being mournful and having a wonderful grace and panache, the extended solo being absolutely sublime, it’s just that it feels out of place in the flow of the record. Continuing the longer cuts “The Lost” piles in at seven minutes but switches back to earlier stylings with powerhouse kit work from Thomas Nunn and a couple of face melting solos, the second in particular, are jaw dropping. “Fear Of A Dank Planet” then flips the script back to the style of the earlier songs but done with the finesse of the middle pairing in an up-tempo rampage with slick leads and a fist pumping chorus that feels like the kind of cut you’d expect to hear on Metal Radio in the US. Showing their ability to build atmosphere “Synthetic” makes for a huge arena filling anthem with a sing-a-long chorus and some dark melodies from synths adding another dimension before the fretboard smouldering “Shot, Framed And Hung” which presents us with a concrete slab of Groove Metal with a weighty solo. Concluding the album with the title track pairing “Be The Fire” and “Wish For The Wind” is an interesting choice but as powerful as these cuts are, some of their impact is lost because by this point the album actually feels over long. Sometimes less is more and if you took a couple out of this and re-ordered the tracks to start with “Deletist” and finish on “Husk” then it would actually improve the flow and turn what feels like a collection of solid cuts into a more well rounded album [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. (Dis)connected
  2. Parallelysis
  3. Fear Itself
  4. Deletist
  5. Husk
  6. The Lost
  7. Fear Of A Dank Planet
  8. Synthetic
  9. Shot, Framed And Hung
  10. Be The Fire
  11. Wish For The Wind

Be The Fire And Wish For The Wind” by Toxicon is out 2nd September 2022

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