The world is falling apart one day at a time, and the majority of us sit and watch as if attending a public hanging: our interest piqued by the appalling, but our thoughts and reactions largely absent. Gun-toting, flag-waving fucks run rampant, and the most we do is shake our heads for a day, or a minute, and then laugh it off, drink it off, turn it off of our omnipresent glowing screens. But beyond the overblown sense of importance and penchant for condescension that we hold to so dearly while willingly stripped of all other human rights, we are nothing more than ugly animals. In a culture that is predominantly dormant, Retox seeks to bring this reality to the forefront in an intriguing way, to grab our ever-rapidly-decreasing attention spans.
The band began in 2011 as Justin Pearson (The Locust, Some Girls, All Leather), Michael Crain (Festival of Dead Deer, Kill the Capulets), Thor Dickey (These Old Wounds), and Gabe Serbian (The Locust, Holy Molar, Rats Eyes), releasing the Retox 7” self-titled EP– an album marked by reckless speed and blistering defiance in heavy opposition to the ongoing afflictions of stupidity, laziness, and the general bullshit that occupies underactive minds, which are themes that can be found in the majority of their work: “You have received a notice to quit your pointless bitching.”
The lineup would remain the same for their first LP, Ugly Animals (Three One G, Ipecac), which proceeded the EP just months later, up until September 2011 in which Brian Evans took over for Gabe on drums. He would first be recorded on their sophomore album, released in 2013 by Three One G and Epitaph, YPLL (an acronym for a term interestingly centered around premature mortality, “Years of Potential Life Lost”). In 2014, the band released a split with Narrows, as well as recorded their third LP (Epitaph, Three One G). Cue the entrance of Keith Hendriksen (Kill the Capulets, Virginia Reed) to take over for Thor Dickey on bass, contributing to the consistent change and growth that propels the band from one unique album to the next: varying styles and sonically experimenting, melding the raw with the refined, reinforcing but never repeating. Throughout, they have toured continuously with similarly like-minded acts such as Melt Banana, Tomahawk, OFF!, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Doomsday Student, physically bringing every bit as much intensity as the music itself incites intellectually.
Retox simultaneously reflects and defies society, using their music as a way of holding a mirror to the rest of us in order to expose our own fucked up realities and the twisted ethics authority attempts to inculcate in us every day. To encourage us to make “the powers that be” become “the powers that were” as they slowly fade into pathetic obscurity and die off, one by one.
And perhaps most importantly, in an age dominated by hardcore narcissism and unchecked egos, Retox is here to remind us: DON’T FALL IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF.