I wasn’t sure what to expect the first time I listened to Toxic Ruin. The album cover for Subterranean Terror was compelling enough to give it a listen, and even though it had its flaws that I attributed to nervousness as opposed to lack of skill, it was decent enough. The vocals were weak in a few spots, but overall I admired the band’s earnest approach and found the slight tinge of death metal that they injected to be enjoyable. Discovering that they are an actively performing band earned them my respect to the point that I considered them a band to be on the lookout for in the future.
In the years since the release of Subterranean Terror, bassist Stephen Behrendt has stepped up to the microphone and seems to be captaining the band alongside drummer and co-founder Dave Miller, and “Insolent Obsession” from their upcoming E.P. Mortal Insolence is the first taste of this new dynamic for those that have been unable to experience Toxic Ruin live. The melodic riffing certainly has a lot in common with bands like Bio-Cancer, and frankly it’s nice to hear American bands using this type of melody. Behrendt’s vocals are nice and clean, at least as nice and clean as death metal-tinged thrash vocals can get. This is definitely a good thing, since sloppier vocals that use this approach can prove headache-inducing, a trait that is thankfully absent in this track. The requisite thrash traits are all here: breakneck rhythm, savage guitar solos, and scolding socio-political lyrics. All in all “Insolent Obsession” is a very straightforward and very well thought out addition to Toxic Ruin’s repertoire and this track along with subsequent E.P. release will quench underground thrasher’s thirsts as we close out 2018.
Mortal Insolence will be available digitally December 15th, physical copies will be available through Toxic Ruin’s BandCamp soon afterwards.