Dis Morta

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Dis Morta
02. Feeding Frenzy
03. The Radical
04. Power
05. Hyper Reality
06. Creating The Abyss
07. Straight Razor
08. Chasing Mercury
09. Devil In The Mirror
10. Judas

If you love thrash metal, you really need to hear this thing. TOXIK were one of many worthy thrash bands that fell through the cracks and missed their shot as the genre stumbled to its post-"Black Album" denouement at the dawn of the '90s. Wildly technical and proudly rich in the potent melodies of progressive metal, albums like "World Circus" (1987) and "Think This" (1989) were cult hits but commercial dead ends, and TOXIK were over and done by 1992.

Guitarist Josh Christian clearly views his band's brief but memorable past glories as a case of unfinished business: 33 years on from their last full-length album, the New Yorkers' intermittent reunions since 2013 have mutated into a lethal new line-up (with only Christian remaining from the old days) and a new album that obliterates the majority of genre competition, both back then and right now. Seatbelts may be required.

Jaw-shattering proof that TOXIK circa 2022 are definitely not in the business of fucking around, opener "Dis Morta" is breathlessly intense, almost to the point of being funny. It has all of the band's trademark manic energy, but with a ton of cutting-edge sonic weight backing it up and levels of musicianship that make those early albums sound scrappy and ragged in comparison. That was all part of the charm of thrash metal's first few waves, of course, but Christian's desire to make this reunion matter has rescued this comeback album from all kinds of needless retro posturing. Songs like "Feeding Frenzy" and "Straight Razor" contain a huge amount of musical information, but everything is delivered with such immaculate precision that the whole crew audibly moves and shreds as one.

At times startling in its brutality, this 45-minute rollercoaster ride is also dense with melodic ideas, whether expressed through melted-fret fireworks or via frontman Ron Iglesias' magnificently over-the-top vocals. Either hammering away at absurd speeds, millimeter-perfect in design and deed, or firing off the kind of wildly cocky ensemble syncopation, TOXIK sound nothing like some hoary old band from the foggy past. Listen to the cudgeling bombast of "Power" or the turbocharged speed metal bar brawl of "Devil In The Mirror" and witness the sound of an underappreciated phoenix rising from the ashes and taking the fight to the floor. By any standards, ancient or modern, "Dis Morta" is a badass piece of work.

Author: Dom Lawson
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