Toxic Ruin – Nightmare Eclipse (M-Theory Audio)

Friday, 10th September 2021
Rating: 9/10

Steady growth in terms of band chemistry, songwriting abilities, and instrument proficiency can pay dividends in the long run. People tend to notice on all fronts – including industry outlets, as Wisconsin thrash/death outfit Toxic Ruin garners a label deal with M-Theory Audio for their second album Nightmare Eclipse. Already gaining praise from this scribe through previous recordings like Subterranean Terror in 2015 and the Mortal Insolence EP follow-up during 2018, its very evident that this quartet take a wide array of influences older and modern to create a very aggressive and energetic sound, while also keeping things slightly melodic, groovy, and worthy of many pit-inducing/stage diving moments.

As the twin guitars fade in to start “Until Everything Is Gone”, the proceedings quickly change to a battering ram amalgamation of vicious riffs, hard hitting drums, solid transitional melodic twists, and a mid-section switch-up tempo-wise sure to make metalheads go bonkers when aired live: imagine the chaos of Revocation taken into a classic Megadeth/Vio-lence turn. Midway through the record “It of the Horrid Storm” contains more of the epic, progressive peaks you can expect in a seven-minute plus instrumental track – Stephen Behrendt excelling in fluid bass mechanics against the rolling thrash/melodic death riffs and shredding lead breaks guitarists Blake Toltzmann and Jacob Baneck deliver, taking decades of influences into their arsenal of tricks. The sound is crisp, vibrant, and in your face – the fusion of thrash, death, and groove metal coming from numerous American and European influences, while Stephen’s acidic screams and fierce barking delivery command your attention – a rabid presence that keeps “Ritual Rebirth” and the steamroller “Liquid Blood Bound” top of mind. All four musicians have stepped up their game a hundred-fold – even drummer David Miller uses tempo shifts, relentless double kick accents, and restraint when called for to give the songs that extra punch and lift.

Nightmare Eclipse proves that Toxic Ruin continue to sharpen their proverbial creative blade, slicing their way through another stellar set of material. Those who want energy in the thrash/death mold with a progressive and groovy touch need look no further than this as mandatory for your collection.

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