Review: “Nightmare Eclipse” by Toxic Ruin

Hailing from Sheboygan Wisconsin, Toxic Ruin have been blasting Death infused Thrash Metal in an attempt to burst our ear drums since 2016 when they landed debut album  “Subterranean Terror” on us with a barrage of riffs and those old school Thrash lyrical themes and socio-political commentaries. That was followed in 2018 with an EP in “Mortal Insolence” that brought with it the winds of change as it marked the first release with the line up as they are now; Stephen Behrendt (vocals and bass), Jacob Baneck (lead guitar), Blake Toltzmann (rhythm guitar) and David Miller (drums). Adorned by cover artwork from Mark Richards (Revocation, The Black Dahlia Murder, Napalm Death) and featuring guest guitar solos from members of Micawber (Leighton Thompson?), Aronious (Ryan Brumlic or Nick Weyers?) and Eidolon, ex-Megadeth (Glen Drover?)

We’ve made educated guesses on who those guest guitarists might be but on which track they appear is also something of a mystery as it’s not information that’s available at the present time. Not that it necessarily matters so much, but it would be nice to know, credit where credit is due and having made the effort to get the guests on board… but on with the review! There is no mistaking the influence of Exodus in the rampaging onslaught of “Until Everything Is Gone” with Behrendt having that dry raspy vocal tone that Steve “Zetro” Souza is famous for and the a couple of blistering solos combined with a heavier bass tone making for a classic Speed Thrash opener. “Ritual Rebirth” and “Defiler” keep up the high tempo riff attack and caustic vocals with some darker Death Metal growls thrown in for good measure; the later has a certain amount of 80’s Thrash nostalgia about it before a solid extended technical solo lays to waste the opposition and puts the band firmly in the signs of booking agents as potential Trivium tour support in the same way Power Trip were with “Nightmare Logic“. It is however “Voices Of Death” that brings something new to the plate treading the fine line between Speed Thrash and Death Metal with some savage vocal change ups and a couple of whammy bar drop solos that bring Skeletal Remains to mind with the wave after wave sinister menacing groove, the darkness of the lyrics a real invitation to the underworld. A couple of choice “Bleigh!” moments might not be expected on this style of Metal but are carried of well thanks to some great transitions and power play tempo shifts. The best guitar work is saved for mid record cut “It Of The Horrid Storm“, an absolute leviathan of a cut that harks back to those classic instrumentals like “The Call of Ktulu” by Metallica which enable the musicians to really express themselves with virtuoso solos over a 7 minute magnum opus of epic grandeur. There are moments throughout the record that will sound familiar in to any listener of Thrash, short passages of riffs that are close to ones you may have heard before and from which the band probably take influence. Here these work really well as they add to an air of familiarity which gives the record an instant hook and gravitational pull quality that sells it before the title track brings down the hammer and fading out on whammy bar drops ends that headbangable classic of a divine note [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Until Everything Is Gone
2. Ritual Rebirth
3. Defiler
4. Voices Of Death
5. It Of The Horrid Storm (Instrumental)
6. Divine Acclimation
7. Liquor Blood Bound
8. Nightmare Eclipse
9. Lord Of Pandemonium (Bonus Track)

Nightmare Eclipse” by Toxic Ruin is out 27th August via M-Theory Audio and available over at bandcamp

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