TOXIK — Dis Morta (review)

TOXIK — Dis Morta album cover Album · 2022 · Technical Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Dis Morta" is the fourth full-length studio album by US power/thrash metal act Toxik. The album was released through Massacre Records in August 2022. It´s the successor to "Kinetic Closure" from 2020 but is in fact the first full-length studio album solely featuring new material since "Think This" from 1989, as "Kinetic Closure" predominantly featured re-recorded versions of older tracks. Only guitarist Josh Christian remains from the original 1980s lineups, and since reuniting in 2013 (Toxik had their original run from 1985-1992) there have been quite a few lineup shuffles too, but on this release Christian is complimented by drummer James DeMaria, bassist Shane Boulos, lead vocalist Ron Iglesias, and guitarist Eric van Druten.

Stylistically the material on "Dis Morta" is technical thrash metal with US power metal leanings. The latter influence is predominantly heard in the vocals and some of the more melodic choruses, but "Dis Morta" is primarily a technical thrash metal release. Iglesias has a strong voice and he sings both raw and higher pitched screaming vocals. The music is very busy, energetic, and sometimes a bit chaotic sounding as so much happens in the soundscape. It´s not particularly dynamic music, and as a consequence the listening experience can be a little stressful. I´m often reminded of the UK thrash/grove/power/progressive metal act Biomechanical and their almost manic and multilayered approach.

Toxik are an incredibaly well playing act and as a listener you´ll be exposed to technical drumming, razor sharp thrashy riffs, blistering lead guitar work, and the above mentioned intense vocals (and backing, harmony, and choir vocals). The high level musicianship is arguably one of the greatest assets of "Dis Morta". The sound production is overall of a good quality, but it´s on the dry side and the multilayering of riffs, lead parts, and backing/harmony vocals sometimes drown the basic structures of a song. A better defined and detailed sound production could possibly have elevated the album to a higher state.

To fans of Toxik´s first two albums this may not be the comeback album they have dreamed about. For that it´s maybe a little too different sounding and harsh, but given a few spins it does become apparent that Toxik have composed a powerful, effective, and intriguing technical power/thrash metal release in the harder edged end of the spectrum, and the tracks begin to stand out more too. Because initially this is not an easily accessible release. It simply doesn´t invite you in, but instead demands of you that your ears and brain are to work hard to enjoy the listening experience. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
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Tupan wrote:
2 months ago
Excellent release! It's relentless but varied. Entered my list of the best of the year!


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