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TOXIC SMILE I'm Your Saviour (2010)

Toxic Smile

Toxic Smile were formed in Leipzig in the former East Germany in 1996 and I'm Your Saviour is the band's third album - so, not exactly prolific then. They are essentially a progressive metal outfit, but with touches of art-rock and even jazz being thrown in here and there. It has to be said, however, that I'm Your Saviour is a bit of a curate's egg of an album.

Fans of progressive metal will love the opening four tracks here with wonderful keyboard arpeggios heralding crashing guitars, giving a very heavy, contemporary feel to proceedings - almost anthemic at times. Imagine the main theme from Barclay James Harvest's 'Mocking Bird' amped and fuzzed-up to the max, and you begin to see the picture.

However, (and I hate using that word) things start taking a downward turn thereafter. Track 5 'Walked By Fear' is a so-so acoustic ballad that led me to start reading the lyric sheet, and therein lies the problem. Now I know it must be difficult expressing yourself in another language, but some of the lyrics here are risible - raising the sort of guffaws you get when reading instructions for your new DVD player translated from the Chinese by a Chinese person.

This reaches its zenith on 'Poles Apart', a piss-poor, electric piano led ballad containing the lines, and I kid you not, 'I'm on the run, I jump the gun, but maybe I am toast…' What???? And from 'Pride And Joy' - 'I held your hand when you were ill, I tasted slurry, got that skill'. Jeeeeezus!!

The band redeem themselves somewhat with the final, title track, an excellent pedal to the metal rocker, but by then you've sort of lost the thread.

If the band had kept up the quality and energy of the opening four tracks, we could have had a winner here - but things got very sloppy towards the end. I feel that if the band are going to crack the market they must (a) shoot the translator and (b) steer clear of sanctimonious claptrap ballads - it's not clever, but it is funny.


Review by Alan Jones


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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