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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Torture

Storm Alert

Review by Travis Jensen

When you think of thrash metal, bands that naturally come to mind are probably Slayer, Sepultura and Biohazard just to name a few. Now you can add another band to that list if you haven’t already, which is Torture. Originally hailing from Texas and now a San Francisco based band, these guys have been around since the late 80’s when groups such as Exodus, Overkill, Testament and Metallica (when they were cool) were leading the pack. This may be where some of the band’s influence and style comes from, although I do sense a strong musical vibe where Venom may have been involved.

There are several tracks on this album that really bring me back to what it was that originally drew me to this kind of music. I won’t take you on a lengthy nostalgia trip, but let me say that Torture is what thrash metal is all about.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Intro
This is kind of a throwback to what might be a background score to a horror movie from the 1970’s. “The Omen” is the first one that comes into my mind.
Ignominious Slaughter
This is your first taste of the LP, and rightfully so, because this is the kind of song that epitomizes what a broken-nose mosh-pit would be formed around them. Play this one as loud as you can and “break a neck!”
Dwell into Reality
The dissonant guitars in the beginning give you a twisted gut feeling. The lyrics are cool when you read along with them. However, the vocal rhythm seems a little remedial, probably because it is more of a spoken word song.
Blood Portrait
This is the somber, dark, mystical side that any true metal band aspires for. That’s especially true in the intro of the song where the acoustic guitar leads you into the climactic portion of the rest of the song. I think that the true musical talent in this one lies within the guitars towards the middle of the track. The classical riff followed by the slashing solo really pulls this one together.
Slay Ride
This cut definitely shows a humorous side to the band which is a Christmas based song that uses what seems to be a children’s TV show as an intro. It’s probably a little too long, but is a nice twist nonetheless. A few 80’s metal bands (and groups like Grim Reaper) used to use storybook preludes to songs on occasion. The music itself has nothing to do with Christmas, but if you read the lyrics to the song, it is quite comical, especially when you consider the creative segue.
Terror Kingdom
This is where I felt Satan slap me in the face with a dirty rubber hose. Although at first, I said to myself “Come on, not another long, drawn-out intro!” I really liked it once the vocals and thrashing kicked in at high speed. The bridges in this one are a little too lengthy, and the rhythm guitar gets too redundant, but the vocals help to break it up.
Storm Alert
This is where I sense the Venom influence, mostly because of the vocal style. If you’ve ever heard Kronos on the Black Metal or Welcome to Hell albums, I’m sure you would agree. My only criticism of this one is that they are a little too long to the point where I find myself looking towards the end of the song.
Enter the Chamber
This is a cool song. I love the guitar intro! This is probably the most notable on this album because of the bass guitar solo that is complimented directly after by a ripping guitar solo. It kind of reminds me of what Cliff Burton used to do for Metallica - we still miss ya Cliff!
Whips Pt. 1
This is where the tight, speed-metal talent of Torture really shines through. That’s mostly due to the fact that this is strictly an instrumental track with no vocals whatsoever. Let’s face it, really thrash metal is mostly about the drums, bass and guitar. The vocals are more or less just a tool to hold it all together and give it variety.
Whips Pt. 2
Here’s another instrumental! However, this one has somewhat of a darker soundscape than the previous one. It’s still fast, of course, but just a little heavier. The double-bass drums are always a safe bet if no lyrics are involved. Halfway through, it gets faster, so this is where you need to turn up the volume to eleven (not ten) and go nuts!
Deceiver
This is the last song, and rightfully so, as it really helps to unify the entire list of previous numbers together for what is the triumphant ending to a story of evil.
 
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