Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Toxin - Misantrophy (1991)

Though the 90s were largely barren of quality thrash, German and beyond, I feel like there are a few albums out there that really hinted at something special, and Toxin's sole full-length album, cleverly misspelled Misantrophy, is one of them. It's basically the closest thing I've heard to a cross pollination of Destruction's technical, cold and hostile riffing with the unbridled, alcoholic passion and fire of the early Tankard records. Add to this a bevy of fine-tuned leads and more riffs than you can shake your dick-wick at, and you've got a fine if forgotten epic of ballistic, intense thrash that deserved to spin a few more heads than it did.

Granted, that's a derivative description, and to an extent, Toxin can not be accused of much originality. But it's how they form these influences into cohesive clobbering that makes it a lost, minor cult classic. The Aphorisms EP was a statement of potential, but Misantrophy takes that potential and repeatedly beats you in the face with it, like a flailing limb that has been torn off a bodybuilder. Tracks like "Misantrophy", "Two Wishes", "Lust for Life" and "Wings of Death" pound upon you like a barbwire-encrusted baseball bat, but the band also has a pretty sensitive side which they explore through the 8 minute "Disintegration", which twists through clean guitar segments to power, fumbling a bit through the vocals; or the moody but warlike "Retrospective". These diversions are not necessarily the strong points of the album, though, I rather favor the methodical guitars of "Destructive Ways" or the great opener "Two Sided Existence" with its excellent lead flurries.

Misantrophy is still pretty far from perfect, but I favor the material over the EP before it. The production is not always on fire here, with the vocals seeming a whit sloppy (some tracks more than others), and some of the more expressive guitars coming off a little too chunky. Likewise, the songs are rarely loaded to the brim with quality, they'll five off 4-5 good riffs and then a few that just aren't as convincing, though the energy level rarely dips. That said, there's a lot to be said for the 'Germanic' style here, and for that reason I'd recommend it, at least for a listen, to fans of Tankard, Vendetta, older Deathrow, Destruction, Sodom, and other bands to take that torch through the decades. This album is not so good that you 'must' hear it, but if you enjoy the style, then it's solid second tier entertainment.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]


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