TOXIK – “Dis Morta”
By Colonel Angus
TOXIK is a band that should have been bigger than they currently are in the metal world. Back in 1989, their “Think This” album was held in high regard amongst us thrash metal fans. There was plenty to like about that record as it was not only thrashy, it had some great technical riffing to bring the genre to a slightly advanced state. Just as I thought that they were on the cusp of greater heights, boom, nothing. I don’t know if grunge had a hand in it and/or other factors but I was highly disappointed they didn’t follow through with more great albums after. Throughout the 2000s, they have released some singles and EPs with different line-ups but now we have another new disk full of their technical brand of thrash.
It’s been over 3 decades since we have gotten a long player from these guys so it should be great, right? Well, the reality is that you can’t capture the momentum and “vibe” that existed in 1989. Both the players and the listeners are in different places in their respective lives. For that reason, I am going to try really hard to review this on its own merits.
The first thing that I really like about “Dis Morta” is that it is unapologetically thrash. It is heavy from start to finish and doesn’t let up one bit throughout the whole record. Tracks like “Feeding Frenzy”, “Power”, and “Straight Razor” move along so quickly that they are over before you know it. I can picture all the fans headbanging their way through this trio of tunes and suffering whiplash due to the speed. There is a slight respite for the listener at the beginning of “”Devil in the Mirror” but by that time “Dis Morta” is almost over. The closing track “Judas” is also one of the (slightly) slower tunes on the record but it has a very epic feel and end the record perfectly. The other songs on the disk follow along the lines of the tunes I first mentioned with an all-out thrash vibe while still keeping that precision riffing element that remains throughout “Dis Morta”.
The band has had a number of line-up changes so it made sense to view this release as a new band. The only remnant from the “Think This” era is Josh Christian who still retains that precision lead work throughout “Dis Morta”. On vocals is Ron Iglesias who has a great voice and his performance here is spot on. I like his clean vocal delivery especially since a lot of vocalists are incorporating “cookie monster” vocals into their styles and I’m kind of over that. Even though he doesn’t sound like him, he has a very Joey Belladonna type of style and delivery which gives “Dis Morta” an old-school feel. Eric van Druten adds the rhythm guitars to this whole affair and with him and Christian, you have quite the thrash twin guitar duo. He is the newest member of the group and he fits in perfectly. Holding down the fort, so to speak, is the rhythm section of Shane Boulos (bass) and James DeMaria (drums). They too put in a great performance keeping things ultra-tight for the others to build upon.
I really hope TOXIK get the recognition they deserve and this album should be another step in getting them respect. I liked “Think This” a lot and I have to say that “Dis Morta” is a great disk as well. I don’t think it will capture my imagination like the former did back in 1989 but this will remain on my playlist for quite some time. I think new fans will eat this up as it shows some of the newer thrash metal bands just how it’s done.