Toxoid
Aurora Satanae

New Delhi trio Toxoid take an ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach to black metal on their debut album Aurora Satanae.  They avoid shoe gazin’, there are no pop elements, over the top orchestration is left for the London Symphony and you can kiss those clean vocals goodbye.  For those who like it right in that middle G-spot between lo-fi and somewhat produced, you get that too.

“Baphomet Enraged” is like a bulldozer laying waste to a foreboding Norwegian forest.  Describing this stuff poetically isn’t happening…  Militant double-bass and mental ward blasting keeps the pressure on as the vocals scream in blood across guitar-work that runs the gamut between frost-bitten, doom-addled churns, razorwire tremolo picking and feral, grinding aggression.  If you really put an ear into it, you can hear the bass plucking away back there but it would be nice to hear it higher in the mix.  Though…let’s be honest, how many black metal bands bury the bass?  It’s not exactly a genre known for the low-end, instead making its moldy bread and ancient butter on piercing, glass breaking cacophony.  If you’ve come for that, you should be pleased.

The retching, sludgy breakdowns during “Feed my Wrath” are a particular highlight amongst the well-formed permafrost.  Some of these shambling, misshapen segments even contain great melodic wealth if you chisel deep enough into the ice.  When things are moving at a busted femur hobble, it’s as full on as it gets.  I’d like to hear the cymbals on the kit used more effectively, especially during the slow sections.  Prabal Sahoo is ruthless on the rest of the kit…the footwork is faster than a 100 meter dash, the snares keep it thrash-y and the blasts are tightly executed with a sloppy enough charm.  Just something feels really weak when it comes to the brass bangin’.  “Demon Lust” is easily the album highlight for me, a killer combination of Celtic Frost and Darkthrone with a budget, reminding me of Craft’s righteous crawls.  At 1:17 Adnan Khan (guitar/vocals) submerges this notable melodic lick deep below the band’s crusty layers of tectonic dirge…it gets in your head like a serial killer would if he called you up to just talk casual weekly happenings every Friday night.  Even the bass is audible and the vocals slither into some whispering hisses that are deliciously demented as they draw down the song’s outro.

Testing the blastbeat speed limit implied by common metal law, “Mystical Misanthropic Doctrine” warps into existence with a vaguely Swedish melody on the guitar before turning into a monstrosity of blasts that literally occupy nearly half of the song’s 5 minutes of playtime.  When you’re not getting riddled in the earholes with a Gatlin Gun, the tune rests its laurels on a melodic bed of sickened riffage that again allow the bass the tiniest bit of face time.  The title track is like being chased through a hedge maze with a psychopath on your heels wielding a machine.  Chaos comes in every direction with even a more prominent lead/solo happening with the 6-string deviance, the destructive shred constantly molested and agitated from blast beat perversion and those scathing night black screams.  Closer “Thy Infernal Defloration” has the only atmospheric intro on the entire record; cleaner guitars and crystal clear bass lines are smothered in windy ambiance before the song starts twitching in death throes of speedy fury and gnarly, dissonant slow-down where the guitar work again boils flesh from bone in the most unpleasant manner imaginable…you’re still alive when the boiling starts.  It’s a fantastic closing track and definitely one of the strongest lacerations on the entire album, also making use of solos to really get the knife-point across.

If you dig this kind of derelict decimation, I see no reason to skip Toxoid.  For a young band that’s only been around a few years (since 2012), they are hellishly competent.  In fact they sound like pros to me.  Some small nitpicks aside…Aurora Satanae should be a great listen for fans of Lycanthropy, Secrets of the Moon and Hyadningar.  Pretty good shit!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
May 26th, 2015

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