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Toxik – Dis Morta

Dis Morta
by Thomas Kumke at 04 July 2022, 5:59 AM

Thrash Metal outfit TOXIK have a long-lasting history starting in 1985. They were active until 1992, and after a couple of restarts with the latest one dating to 2013, they are back in the business since then. It does not come as a surprise that beside three EPs, two DVDs, and two compilation appearances, “Dis Morta” is “only” their third full-length album. It was mixed by Martin Furia (BARK, NERVOSA, SISTERS OF SUFFOCATION) and mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering Studio. The album has a length of almost 45 minutes, and it was released via German label Massacre Records which has a lot of Death, Black, and Power Metal bands among their roster.

Dis Morta” starts strongly with the title song after a short spoken word passage with very powerful and dark guitar riffs at a sluggish head-banging rhythm with plenty of double-bass drumming. The song quickly transitions into a fast track with staccato riffing and the trademark highly pitched vocals of Ron Iglesias.Dis Morta” frequently changes pace, and the chorus parts have a lot of neoclassical vibes. The title track eventually finishes with an acoustic Spanish guitar. “Feeding Frenzy” starts at frantic speed in the drumming and riffing accompanied by the lead guitars. The lead guitar melodies are a central part of the track and the solos are technically comprehensive. “Feeding Frenzy” is very playful in terms of the melodies and the song structure. The song would have benefitted from a bit more directness and less complexity.

The Radical” starts at mid-tempo with heavy riffing and the lead guitars. I like the thrashy highly pitched vocals of Ron Iglesias, which perfectly fit to the vibes of the song. The lead guitar parts are very dominant and drive the song forward. “Power” has a very energetic and fast start with a lot of melodic Death Metal vibes regarding the lead guitar melodies and playfulness of the solos. The Thrash Metal parts are delivered by the guitar riffing and the vocals, but overall “Power” cannot keep up with the power of the previous songs, because of the many changes in rhythm. “Power” is the official lyric video, and the YouTube link is given below.

Many of the songs include a short pre-lude and an extended instrumental part before it really goes into the track. “Hyper Reality” is not the exception here. It is another overly complex song, where more simplicity in melodies, rhythm, and overall structure would have helped to give it more clarity and make it more accessible to the listener. Eventually, I got lost during the song. “The Abyss” is more straightforward compared to “Hyper Reality”, although it maintains the complexity in the lead guitar. It is mainly a mid-tempo track, but with a few tempo changes towards both ends. “Straight Razor” is a very fast song with heavy riffing, crunching bass lines, and very comprehensive drumming. Highlight of the track is the lead guitar solo which has, despite all technicality, the directness needed for the song. “Straight Razor” is in my opinion one of the album highlights.

Chasing Mercury” starts with an instrumental part, driven by the lead guitars with a few neoclassical vibes. Apart from the start, “Chasing Mercury” is one of the below average songs of the album with plenty of different rhythms and melodies. “Devil In The Mirror” has a ballad-esque start with a piano part and the vocals, before it transitions into a traditional Thrash Metal song, which has all the best ingredients in it: the flesh-ripping guitar riffs, the breakneck speed, the aggressiveness in sound and vocals. The song is straight and direct for most of the time, and the middle part, which has a bit more complexity with the lead guitar solo, fits very well into the overall framework of the track. “Devil In The Mirror” is another album highlight. The album closes with “Judas” and the song starts powerful and strongly with the guitar driven instrumental part. The core of the song does not maintain the heaviness of the start, it adds a few epic parts during the chorus parts. “Judas”, however, represents very well the songs on the album in terms of the overall approach to Thrash Metal by TOXIK.

Traditional Thrash Metal is simple, aggressive, and direct. TOXIK do not follow this concept and “Dis Morta” is not a traditional Thrash Metal album. The signature sound on the album is driven by complex song structures, technically complex lead guitar contributions, and a lot of twists in rhythm. This is the album concept, and it is up to the listener to take it or leave it. At times, I felt a bit lost while listening, but this is down to personal taste. TOXIK do very well in that what they do, although I occasionally felt that the songwriting leaves room for improvement, since some of the songs sounded a bit unfinished. The album is well produced. “Dis Morta” is an album that might not be liked by everyone, but those Thrash Metal fans who dig the album, will love it.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  6
Production:  8

3 Star Rating

1. Dis Morta
2. Feeding Frenzy
3. The Radical
4. Power
5. Hyper Reality
6. The Abyss
7. Straight Razor
8. Chasing Mercury
9. Devil In The Mirror
10. Judas
Ron Iglesias – Vocals, Guitars
Eric Van Druten – Guitars
Josh Christian ­ Guitars
Jim DeMaria – Drums
Shane Boulus – Bass
Record Label: Massacre Records


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