Toxic Ruin: Hard Hitting Thrash Metal from the Midwestern USA

toxic-ruinWritten by Brett Kihlmire

Thrash metal is an American staple, and while it’s popular overseas it’s often best done with a furious American attitude. Sheboygan, Wisconsin’s own Toxic Ruin is proof of America’s dominance of this legendary style.

Inspired by a blend of old school thrash metal like Slayer and Metallica, as well as new school heroes like Havok, Revocation and Obscura, Toxic Ruin came together in 2010. The origins of the band are traced back to when doom/thrash cover band, The Ruin, decided to do original tunes and become “East Wisconsin’s front line in all things thrash and heavy metal.”

Though the band was roughly the same crew as The Ruin, lineup changes became commonplace, but by 2014 things settled down to solidify the lineup as Chubzy McDuff (Vocals), Jacob Banek (Lead guitar), Mike Hasselman (Rhythm guitar), David Miller (Drums) and Stephen Behrendt (Bass).

“After the line-up finished changing for a bit, we found a sound that fit us and altered the name to Toxic Ruin,” says Miller, who feels the band is best described as “progressive thrash.”

As for the name, the band had a simple reason for the choice – It sounded cool.

“At the time we picked the name [The Ruin] just because it was cool and kind of mysterious, and it had a very doomy feel to it. Once we knew we were going into a more thrashy direction with an entirely new lineup the name had to change to fit. Thus Toxic Ruin,” explains Miller.

Though the band had to deal with a revolving door lineup for the first years of its existence as an original band, Miller says the band has rolled with the punches and “done what every other veteran band has had to do at least a couple of times,” like “playing in front of other bands and their girlfriends, arguing with cheap bar owners” and other frustrations. Fortunately, their perseverance ultimately paid off with the release of their 2016 debut full length Subterranean Terror – and it’s a monster!

Six years is a long time to get your act and sound together, but Toxic Ruin has pulled it off quite well. The band is a veteran of the Midwest scene and sticks to their guns on their unrelenting thrash style. As of this writing the band is fresh off their debut release, but they’re “working our asses off on writing a second album.”

“We’re putting a lot more technical inspiration into it and, so far, it’s sounding like it’s going to haul ass!” exclaims Miller, who says the band will continue its lyrical theme of “Doom and the fall of mankind. Everything that would leave the world in Toxic Ruins!”

Aside from working their asses off on the new album, Toxic Ruin is looking to rage on through 2017 with a possible Midwestern U.S. tour, but nothing is quite past the drawing board yet.  Of course, once the band hits the road and rocks a venue near you, here’s what you can expect courtesy of Miller.

“Toxic Ruin Live is fast, in your face metal! We pride ourselves on being tight with the material and being able to display our own technical musicianship while not being statues on the stage. You can find plenty of live video clips of us showing just that online.”

As of right now, the band is stalking the underground venues around their native Wisconsin and the surrounding states with their usual stomping grounds being Stage Works in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Though 2017 is just around the corner the band doesn’t quite have their year planned out yet. A music video is a strong possibility, but the band demands quality, so it may take a bit of time to conjure up the funds for a video that will meet their standards. In the meantime, Toxic Ruin plans to ring in the New Year with a New Year’s Eve show, after which the band will continue its weekend domination of the Midwest underground while writing their next album.


For the latest information of Toxic Ruin check out their official Facebook page –

Check out their debut album Subterranean Terror –




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