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Toxic Smile - 'I'm Your Saviour' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/74/4d/10/1107_ToxicSmileImYourSaviour_1300058195.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 13, 2011    
 
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This album should feature highly on any true prog head's must buy list.

Six years have passed since 'RetroTox Forte', which was the last full length effort from Germany's Toxic Smile. In the mean time the band have released a pair of DVDs and with an EP also seeing the light of day in 2009, however with their mix of seventies prog rock styling and a more riff-based prog metal outlook, the finely honed 'I'm Your Saviour' sees the band back with a bang. The usual prog rock/metal bench marks are reverentially nodded to, with everyone from Yes, Genesis, Spock's Beard and Dream Theater being brought to mind at times, but the maturity and craft of the nine songs that make up this hour long album ensures that 'I'm Your Saviour' never falls into the copyist trap.

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Taking the bold step of opening the album with its longest song, Toxic Smile leave you in no doubt that they do not intend to compromise on 'I'm Your Saviour', with the mixture of impressively tight arrangements, stunning musicianship and skilled song writing making for an album that is deeply emotional, while still managing to keep any instrumentally dextrous anorak frothing at the mouth. Guitarist Uwe Reinholz and keyboard player Marek Arnold combine and clash with equal effect, with the sprawling bass work of Robert Brenner furthering the musical scope of these songs. Drummer Robert Eisfeldt is also ridiculously talented and the way that his playing adds an immense amount of colour and contrast to the musical backdrop is impressive to say the least. That leaves vocalist Larry B, who comes across like a less aggressive Mac (ex-Threshold/Powerworld), dealing with the permanently altering framework of music by showcasing the different aspects of his voice. Being able to move complex musical structures into music that is filled with emotional highs and lows is a rare skill and one that Toxic Smile have in abundance, as the galloping drums, layers of Hammond and wailing guitars of 'The Change' illustrates brilliantly, as they lead into a beautiful piano and vocal led section, before heading back into metallic territory. These themes continue through the ever morphing 'The Abyss', with beautiful electric piano providing a majestically melodic backing for a German language spoken section, that while I may not understand, makes for compelling listening. However the uptempo staccato riff and Deep Purple like keyboards that interject throughout make for a stunning counterpoint. Other highlights come in the shape of the Dream Theater meets Neo-Prog of 'Endless Cycle', the brilliantly poised acoustic 'Walked By Fear' and the roaming Genesis meets The Pineapple Thief workout 'I'm Your Saviour', which closes the album in triumphal style.

Toxic Smile's third full length album is a masterful collection of all the things that make progressive music the stunning smorgasbord that it is and should feature highly on any true prog head's must buy list.

Steven Reid

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