After five year of inactivity American-based thrash metal foursome Toxic Ruin has returned with their sophomore full-length album Nightmare Eclipse, signing the contract with M-Audio Theory. They have started to tease the audience with singles the year before the release of this LP, providing with high quality thrash metal.
Their history isn’t too long or too prominent – one EP in an era when they have been simply called “The Ruin”, and two LPs, one EP and two singles under their new name Toxic Ruin. But after this big pause, it seems like these thrashers from Wisconsin are full of hellish vigor and creative ideas, Nightmare Eclipse is just a surge of energy and homage to traditional thrash metal.
Pure thrash metal is kind of static genre in a context of innovations, but with its constant speed, aggression and even playfulness, all the experimental parts are truly optional, because thrash metal is complete in its own little metal world. Toxic Ruin are seriously considering traditional thrash metal as a win-win with all characteristic moves, like complex guitar riffs, fast tempo or double bass drumming. But although the music of these Americans perfectly fits in the concept of classic thrash metal (especially close to German wave), they also offer some signature traits, like a slight tilt to modern sound or technical elements for more sophisticated perception. So, their music is almost classical, but with an open door to an adventurous variety of the huge metal world.
The album starts with an atmospheric passage “Until Everything is Gone” and then the fun begins, fast and furious thrash metal gonna kick some ass for the next 46 minutes. Since this is rather a traditional thrash, there can be traced a lot of typical for this genre tricks and clichés, but it doesn’t rise to the level of cloning the thrash gods from the past, they still have their own rules and melodies, so Toxic Ruin isn’t a boring imitation for old school devoted fans who live in the happy 1980s when thrash metal ruled the world. There’s a good balance between traditionalism and modern views, Nightmare Eclipse would suit well in the prime time of thrash, but it’s still pretty pertinent in the 21st century.
Everything here is based on melodic foundation, the music is harmonious due to this extra melodiousness, and with shouting/screaming vocals it borders on the verge of melodic death metal (especially compositions like “Ritual Rebirth” or “Divine Acclimation”). The most groovy parts also allude on something metalcorish (“Ritual Rebirth” or “Nightmare Eclipse”), but without drooling obsession of all these modern and alternative swings. Guitar works are very neat and well-coordinated, you forget about the crazy speed or violent riffs, because everything here is so fucking harmonious. Of course there are some discorded passages and chaotic parts for more expressive and pensive mood (“Voices of Death” or “Liquor Blood Bound”). The same with progressive lines (“Defiler”), this technicality destroys too traditional thrash devotion as well as makes the music more mature and interesting. And even the rhythm sometimes is a little bit broken, not to mention constant slowings. Strange, but Toxic Ruin really can belong to several generations of thrash metal.
Originality isn’t the strongest side of Toxic Ruin, but the catchy melodies are, and without them even the most unique ideas would be indigestible within this straightforward genre. Graphic artwork with bright colors, demons and death topics is a failsafe choice for the most part of thrash/death metal bands. So, though this is classical and very common thrash metal, catchy melodies and progressive elements make Nightmare Eclipse more vivid and peculiar.
Release date: August 27, 2021
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