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Could you do without the bland imitations of Entombed and Dismember? Do you find Gruesome almost insulting? Then Torturer might just be what you’re after! Here we have a band that has somewhat of a fresh approach to the death metal style of old and while I have no doubts about the intentions of newer death metal bands and whatnot, these guys actually manage to leave a lasting impression behind.
To get into the details: imagine if Killjoy and a young Chuck Schuldiner would resurrect from the dead and decided to play some old fashioned death metal that recalls the 80’s way more than the 90’s does. Once you get past that four minute intro of random noise, any fan of early death metal will be in for a treat. “Die in Pain” immediately kicks off with a classic Master riff and quickly follows up with a piercing tremolo section you might have encountered on Leprosy. Add a nasty growler of a vocalist that does his best Killjoy imitation, while the mood occasionally gets intensified due to some chaotic blastbeats and that’s how you end up with this promising opener. As expected, there’s a fair amount of brutal, yet somewhat calculated thrash injected in the guitar work and while I’m generally not a huge fan of retro thrash, Torturer pulls this style off just fine. “Torturer” is a velocity of intense thrash, recalling both Beneath the Remains due to its intensity, as well as Eternal Devastation because of its acrobatics, before a proper early Pestilence riff takes things into the death metal territory. The result isn’t quite a retro thrash/death metal offering in the vein of Ripper, as this band plays around with their dynamics quite often and thus, this ends as never-ending train of hard-hitting riffs.
For the most part, early Death remains the most obvious point of reference here and while I’m definitely not a huge fan of that band in general, Torturer manage to keep things exciting enough. “Schizo” falls somewhere between the hardcore punk ethos of early Entombed with a Florida-esque death metal flavor – what, with that frantic tremolo that I’m sure has been ripped off from Leprosy in one way or another. “Chemical Fear” is another vile present of early Chuck Schuldiner-esque gore and disgust, but quickly undergoes some notable changes once those chopping Cannibal Corps-esque riffs make it in between. I’m also fond of the firm, yet blasting “Apostasy”, which brings to mind Celtic Frost – if only they had moved into the thrash/death metal territory in the late 80’s instead of turning into something less extreme.
If anything, obvious classics aren’t in sight at this point just yet – meaning that Die in Pain isn’t something I’ll spin as frequently as my death metal picks that are much older, but it helps that the album sounds fairly consistent. I should admit that “Hell Train” isn’t my pick of choice when it comes down to this band and while I enjoy its Destruction-esque thundering riffing halfway through, the verses in between get brought to life through some mediocre chunkier riffing and marching drum passages. Torturer also cover Slaughter’s “Nocturnal Hell” and pulls it off with conviction – the monstrous vocals make a big difference here, as does the louder guitar tone that’s perhaps not as raw as it could have been, but otherwise, it’s an enjoyable rendition. So, that’s about it, really… if you like your death metal old school, but could do with a band that has right intentions but also manages to execute their ideas properly, then there’s no way you could go wrong with Torturer.
Release date: June 22nd, 2018
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