Toxic Ruin – Mortal Insolence (Self-Released)

Thursday, 20th December 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

After enjoying and reviewing for this site the first full-length Subterranean Terror in 2016 from Wisconsin’s Toxic Ruin, it’s been a patient wait for some follow-up material. Bassist Stephen Behrendt has taken over on vocals since that effort, while Blake Toltzmann joins Jacob Baneck on guitar duties – paring down the lineup to a quartet. Now that we’ve taken care of any changes in the lineup, it’s onward to the four songs for this EP entitled Mortal Insolence – continuing to embrace a thrash style that possesses speed, power, and progressive elements while hinting at modern aspects as far as vocals and certain transitions.

What immediately captures your headspace is the impassioned raspy screams and potent delivery emanating from Blake’s vocal chords. He takes everything from thrash and death to even blackened edges as reference points when you check out originals like “Insolent Obsession” and “Mental Atrophy”. Choosing to tackle the Symbolic Death-era classic “Crystal Mountain”, there’s a bit of a heavier attack in the guitar play beyond the normal progressive drumming and twin harmonies that should push the hordes around in circle pits of destruction when Toxic Ruin blast this one out live. There’s a sense musically that these gentlemen aren’t content with pedestrian, basic riffs – they choose to incorporate lightning quick stop/starts, thunderous tempo changes, and this relentless attitude as each song rolls along. You can tell that they love and respect the old guard like Metallica and Exodus, but equally dig Revocation and Havok to balance out the proceedings.

Because there are only four songs, Mortal Insolence has that propensity to go full-force in all directions- even when they want to be more melodic and calmer for the lead section of “Mental Atrophy”, you know that they will follow things up with a hard charging fist flailing effort like “Tyrannical Demise” that features David Miller’s versatile fill and double kick maneuvers and an atmospheric mid-section. Overall this release showcases a stronger level of confidence and insight into dynamic songwriting for a thrash band not content to rest on recycling the past – but rather creating a bright future.

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