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New York's Toxik was formed in 1985 by guitarist Josh Christian, originally using the name Tokyo, until being threatened with legal action by another band who'd registered it first. Not that it mattered all that much, since the band's complex brand of heavy metal was also in some state of flux during these formative years, and by the time the group signed a contract with Roadrunner Records in the late 1980s, had developed into a hybrid style somewhere between speed, thrash, and progressive metal, similar to New Jersey neighbors Hades and Texas' groundbreaking Watchtower. Two musically challenging and thematically politicized albums followed: 1987's World Circus, featuring the flamboyantly shredding Christian, singer Mike Sanders, bassist Brian Bonini, and drummer Tad Leger; and 1989's Think This, where Sanders was replaced with the more accomplished John Sabin, and rhythm guitarist John Donnelly was recruited to share the increasingly intricate six-string workload. Unfortunately, neither album managed to break Toxik beyond the core heavy metal consumer base, and the group eventually broke up in 1992, after losing their record deal. They reconvened in the 2010s and released III Works in 2018 and Wasteland in 2019.
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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