Where Paths Divide
FFO: Dismember, Entombed, Incantation, Wombbath, Grave, Vomitory, God Macabre
When a genre erupts onto the world, there are those bands at its epicentre, the ones that drive it forward and make it happen. Unfortunately, some of these bands never quite make it to the global stage and whilst they are not showered with the fruits of success, their influence brings them a cult following that would even follow the band into certain defeat. This is what occurred to Toxaemia, as Sweden’s death metal machine rumbled forward, the band was sadly left behind as their peers conquered Europe. However, thirty years on and Toxaemia can finally step up and lay claim to their share in that legacy with the release of their debut album ‘Where Paths Divide’.
Ultimately, this is a strange position for a band to be in, to have an influential prowess like Toxaemia and to only be releasing your debut album now is something not many bands will ever go through. This gives ‘Where Paths Divide’ something of an interesting vibe, what the listener gets here is all the power, gusto and energy of a debut album, but performed by the mature, cool headed expereience of musical veterans who know exactly what they are doing and how they want to do it. The late 80’s, early 90’s Swedish sound is there, that roaring chainsaw guitar that rattles the bones, but instead of this being a relic of the past, that sound is brought into 2020 by exquisite work from the one and only Dan Swanö. This means that tracks like ‘Pestilence’, ‘Buried to Rot’ and ‘Black Death’ still have that Entombed, Dismember and Wombbath sound and would therefore appeal to any fan of this genre of music. Furthermore, ‘Where Paths Divide’ does not waste time faffing around with things that don’t need to be done; this is an album which gets in and out quickly giving the listener the full set of bang for your buck.
Thirty years into your career and you deliver a debut album of this calibre is excellent. This is top quality European death metal and with ‘Where Paths Divide’, Toxaemia can finally sit upon their throne.