My personal story is actually like so many here in The Netherlands. As a young enthusiast, I became hooked on metal in the late 1990’s, but at the time when Spotify and YouTube did not exist, I was mostly dependent on older guys who had been into metal for many years already. In fact, I grew up in the countryside, so no record shops or busy nightlife. So I grabbed the few opportunities that remained with both hands, eating pretty much everything those boys, about 10 years older than me, threw at me.
Hanging onto every word when they reminisced, shitfaced or not, about old shows and the trips there. Envious, but mostly intrigued by the stories of seeing bands like Helloween, Voivod and Whiplash in the local pubs stoked the fire in me even further. Nice were also the stories about Dynamo Open air, which was the festival everyone went to at the time and played a vital role in the development of the Dutch (extreme) metal scene. Despite not being there at the time, as a teenager I already knew the line-ups by heart from every year’s edition and all the anecdotes that went with them.
Needless to say, I also got carried away with the bands that played at that mythical festival. In 1988, the festival featured bands like Exodus, Lääz Rockit, Candlemass and Toxik. The latter, I was told at the time, was a band that left a particularly good impression and whose album, ‘World Circus’ was an insane record.
Of course, nothing was untrue about that. ‘World Circus’ is one of the very best Thrash Metal records of those wondrous late 1980s. More technical than almost any Thrash Metal band of the time, perhaps with the exception of Voivod and Heathen, with even a progressive edge here and there. But for the most part Toxik was just one of those mercilessly fast and energetic Thrash Metal acts of the 80’s, a sound and eagerness that was captured on so many of those classic records of that vibrant years. The set the band played at the Dynamo Open Air festival was marked by the same immeasurable energy that also radiated from that classic debut album. The festival’s legendary crowd also audibly went completely into the moment, going bananas on the riff fest that is Toxik.
Of course, these recordings are not new by any means, this set was already released once on CD/DVD by the defunct Displeased Records a good 15 years ago. But now it is also being released on vinyl, something this live recording really deserves. The eternal magic of old Dynamo Open Air captured, a true historical document. I can only imagine how it was if you were actually there. Bruised and with a sore neck… And that for just 1 buck. Can you imagine? That festival really costed only 1 buck!
Incidentally, I did see Toxik a few years ago at a later incarnation of the Dynamo festival, but I have to admit that was pretty much a disappointment. But fortunately, then, there is this recording to soak up a bit of nostalgia.