Toxic Smile - '7'

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Toxic Smile - '7'

Prog of the highest order.

Two years ago I was introduced to music from a Progressive band based in Eastern Germany, who through their 'I'm Your Saviour' album made quite an impression. Since then I've been lucky enough to experience the band at the sadly short lived Fused Festival, where the quintet made an equally strong mark. I now regularly wear my Toxic Smile t-shirt with pride; something set to continue with the bands cunningly titled seventh release '7'.

Now you'll note that when I called Toxic Smile Progressive, I didn't mention the words Rock, or Metal. The reason being that this is a band who expertly sit slap bang between the two; spinning expertly from an acoustic or clean approach to big mighty riffs. Basically if you like Prog, this is for you. More impressively is that each of the seven (you knew there'd be seven) tracks on display present a band who write for the song and not the performance. That each of the five members of Toxic Smile are supremely talented musicians is merely the icing, not the cake itself.

However the dexterous keyboard work of Marek Arnold, stinging, singing fret flurries from Uwe Reinholz, rangey bass foundation of Robert Brenner and schizophrenic drumming from Robert Eisfeld are still a joy to behold. Add to that the vocal tones of Larry B. and Toxic Smile are a challenging jigsaw with all the right pieces, which once connected make a stunning scene to take in.

If you need reference points, Genesis, Yes, Dream Theater; yes they're all here along with spoonfuls of Spock's Beard. Yet this is no rerun of stories previously told. 'Afterglow' (no, not that 'Afterglow') pulsates with power, 'Love With Creation' brings a surprise Jazz edge through wonderful sax tones courtesy of Arnold and 'From Inside Out' has quite stunning bass/guitar/key interplay biting and snarling one minute, seductive and inviting the next. I could highlight each track, but where's the point? You must already know they are all Prog of the highest order. If that's what you crave, bare those teeth in a Toxic Smile. You'll be grinning for a long time to come.

Steven Reid

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