Toxpack – “Schall & Rausch” (Napalm Records)
With its base of Berlin’s punk and street agit movements, Kreuzberg has spawned many a hardcore band, and Toxpack must rank as one of the best of them. Formed in 2001, these guys have dragged themselves through and out’ve the gutter to release a slew of albums with their last release “Friss” actually hitting the German album charts at #16. Not bad for a street punk band, and before I hear cries of ‘sellouts!’ I actually believe that they’ve never forgotten their roots, but rather brought that street punk mindset to the masses through their hugely catchy mix of punk, hardcore and crossover metal. Uniting punks, skins, metallers and hardcore fans with massive singalong choruses and monster street melodies reeking of attitude, the hard as nails back beat remains all over the 16 energized tracks here. Coincidentally with 16 years under their belts, all that experience has been brought to bear on the composing and arrangements here – whoever said punk couldn’t be suave and still kick you in the ballz musta been talking s–t. It’s right here all over tracks like ‘Reden, Lästern, Lügen‘, ‘Bis zum letzten Ton‘ and ‘Kommerz (Die Geier kreisen weiter)‘. Sung in German with vocalist Daniel Schulz giving out a true bierkeller atmosphere, Toxpack ably mix it up across a range of fast rockers to quieter croons and anarchic stomps – along with the odd instrumental – thanks to their quality musicianship, now given even more sheen through the professional production. Very impressive indeed, these Berliners bring a lot to bear here and “Schall & Rausch” proves that success is not synonymous with ‘sellout’.