TÖXIK DEATH – Sepulchral Demons (2020)REVIEW

Are you stronger for the weak, the dying and the piles of dead you leave behind? Will the mountain of rot come back to haunt you? Leech into your drinking water, mutate the rats into festering bloat, possess the children into red-eyed knife wielding fiends in the night?! Don’t worry about it, and keep on killing as the daimon’s grip on your shoulder intensifies with bloodlust as long as the riffs keep flowing. Too many Norwegian youths have given up on their dream of ‘Infernal Overkill’ and ‘Show No Mercy’ inspired witching metal this last decade and after nearly eleven years Sandnes-based shrieking riff-slingers Töxik Death would’ve been a raw loss just beyond their debut full-length (‘Speed Metal Hell‘, 2014). Hell it wasn’t groundbreaking but the Satanic speed metal quintet did a fine job of keeping the faith and meeting the expectations of their infamous demo (‘Demo 2012‘, 2012) and… Then came livor mortis. Only founding guitarist A.W. and second guitarist T.V. remained until 2016 when they caught fire again with a new line-up and a surprisingly different overall sound on this long-awaited second full-length ‘Sepulchral Demons‘, a statement much more in line with their blood brothers in Kolbotn and Fusa of late.

No more shrieking Souza-isms, eh? Now we’re served vein-popping hardcorish shouts a la Inculter via new vocalist H.H. who’d previously fronted hardcore/thrash hybrid Unbreakable at least a decade ago. Don’t worry, I’m talking more of an echoing d-beat shout than a brocore roar here. This’ll be familiar enough a sound if you were right there with me as I praised Sepulcher, Inculter, Deathhammer, Dhakma and Condor highly these last several years as I absolutely believe some of the best thrash comes from Norway these days and 100% Töxik Death make a killer showing here on their second record. The two guitarists, who I assume are the main songwriters these days, have written a more brutal take on extreme thrash that still has hints of Aura Noir and that barking seedling of Nekromantheon but the punkish bolt of classic (early) Sepultura, Destruction, and the most ruthlessly riffing Teutonic thrash are the most important references made. It is a case of instant love on my end from the first whack of the drums and the reverb-shocked vocals, this is a goddamned sweet spot for modern takes on evil thrash in my ears that I’d never tire of.

Same length, fewer songs and longer songs characterize the listening experience here as Töxik Death break free of their 1-3 minute witching metal burners and develop more complex and brutally expressed songs that now average 4-6 minutes with “Morbid Divination” reaching beyond seven minutes in length. This’ll be a bit much if you can’t handle that d-beat swatted style of thrash, they’re insistent as Hell with the battery arrangements and I think most folks will be feeling it at least by the time “Sadistic Sorcery” rolls in. Speaking of “Morbid Divination”, you’ll at least get full view of their love for Sepultura here as the song climbs a narrow peak with menacing Slayer-esque flair. Goddamn does the vocalist nail his intro here, I can feel his eyes go bloodshot as he shouts his first few lines. Obviously it doesn’t take much beyond the right delivery, attitude, and feeling to impress me with a big thrash event but this is a pretty rare event when considering thrash metal’s worldwide output in recent years; Next to nothing wears a pair of ’87 balls like this anymore. Yes, it is unwavering, but that is absolutely the charm of this type of music as it is meant to be ruthless and severe.

Is it ‘good enough’ for a band who’ve been at it for nearly a full 17 years? Sure, I mean this is the first truly worth leap in quality of performance, songwriting, riffs, and render (via the Angel of Doom himself at Temple Of Disharmony) that the band have made to date. Looking back I’d even argue that their 2012 demo sounded better than the full-length, not that I’d cast it aside but -this- is the real arrival of this band and I hope they’re able to work out a few more of these and really begin to push the limits into something more performative and/or technical. I don’t feel the need to really dig through this album song-by-song in any capacity because it is a reasonably straight-forward thrash attack throughout with my own key highlights being basically the entirety of Side B, which is perfection. Consideration for the whole package comes down to the final detail of cover art from Obsessed By Cruelty, whose strong screen-printed style graphic artwork you’ll recognize from Temisto‘s debut and Exumer‘s ‘The Raging Tides’. All things considered this is a remarkable reshaping of Töxik Death that just happens to be entirely to my taste, a ripping n’ jogging extreme thrasher shouting at the top of its lungs in defiance. A very high recommendation.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Sepulchral Demons
LABEL(S):High Roller Records [CD, LP]
Dying Victims Productions [Cassette]
RELEASE DATE:August 21st, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:HRR Store [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Blackened Speed Metal,
Thrash Metal

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