Tymo – The Art of a Maniac Review

Between threats of violence and comparisons of bicep circumference, a blessed soul shared the album art to Tymo’s second full-length The Art of a Maniac in the AMG group chat. I knew then I had to have it. It evokes the very best of over-the-top 80s thrash album covers, complete with a comically sinister figure in the foreground (in this case evil Bob Ross with his very own shoulder-Kuato), a post-apocalyptic cityscape in the background, and more vibrant colors than a Lisa Frank trapper keeper. I’d made the right call though, when I learned that these Alberta-bound Canucks not only walk the walk but talk the talk, contributing another mighty slab of unrelenting party-thrash to the never-ending thrash revival. Throw in plenty of nods to fellow genre miscreants like Municipal Waste and Gama Bomb and a few classic flourishes, and you’re in for one riffy ride. But do Tymo have what it takes to scamper to the top of the liquefying heap of so many other thrashtastic hopefuls?

Tymo is an interesting conglomeration of inspirations and influences. Their sound and visual style tend to evoke bands like the previously mentioned Municiple Waste and Gama Bomb. These comparisons are all the more apt considering song titles like “Mars Attacks,” “Sanity Clause” and “Alcoholocaust.” On the other hand, the vocals aren’t nearly as hardcore influenced as the former or as heavy metal-adjacent as the later, with Tymo opting instead for the tried-and-true thrash snarl, more reminiscent of acts like Havok and Warbringer. Musically, there’s a (varicose) vein of good ‘ole 80s thrash running right through the center of the entire album, giving The Art of a Maniac a pleasing, if not wholly original, nostalgia factor that continues to propel the thrash revival ouroboros.

And propelled they are. Tymo aren’t interested in spending much time bashing your face in, because they probably have a bar to get to and episodes of Rick and Morty to re-watch. Album opener “Tymonicide” serves as a genuinely engaging intro instrumental. Bands of all stripes tend to put a lot of effort into crafting moody, atmospheric openers that don’t ultimately serve as effective intros to what comes next. Not so on The Art of a Maniac. Tymo is here to thrash and chew bubble gum, and it would appear they’re all out of gum. The beatings commence right away, but things don’t get fun until second track “Mars Attacks,” an ode to the film of the same name and a competent thrasher to boot. “Estrogenocide,” with its unrelenting speed, righteous solos and over-the-top lyrics, tells the story of a world ruled by women, with the unlucky men disposed of in various horrific ways. “Age of Deception” slows things down to a mid-paced chug without sacrificing attitude, delivering the album’s only gang chant and some fun bass soloing. The true standout, though, is “War Beneath the Skull,” another slower-than-expected tune that nonetheless delivers a level of dynamism boarding on proto-prog and the true standout. If I had to guess, this is the song that forecasts the band Tymo will become.

But that isn’t the band they are now, and as fun as this album is, it shows. There’s a lot to like, but much of it is marred by less stellar cuts and ineffective song placement. It’s unfair that any one song has to follow “War Beneath the Skull,” let alone two. But situated as they are, both “The Art of a Maniac” and “Alcoholocaust” are easily forgotten, forced to compete with the strongest, most interesting song on the album. Likewise, early cut “Sanity Clause” dulls the edge of the opening instrumental while midpoint track “The Roy Parsons Project” further halts the momentum. Even a generally fun tune like “Mars Attacks” doesn’t have much staying power, even after multiple listens. The main problem though isn’t subpar songs, but subpar organization.

I could quibble with several minor issues on The Art of a Maniac, whether it’s some repetitious songwriting or the less than aggressive drumming. But really, it’s the overall album construction that hurts what is otherwise a fun, quick, delightfully excessive ode to both modern and retro thrash. If the song “War Beneath the Skull” is any indication of the path Tymo may take on subsequent albums, they have a bright future ahead. Almost as bright and garish as that album art, and hopefully no less sinister.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: tymoband.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/tymoband
Releases Worldwide: February 5th, 2022

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