In case you were caught unawares, the “tech” in the tech death sub-genre of metal means technical. It’s an important distinction to make since death metal can be many things, not all of it deserves the lofty label. The earliest purveyors of the style might have been extreme, and well accomplished at playing their instruments, but not living up to the name. Later bands definitely upped the ante on what could be accomplished and now we are talking about an umbrella of bands that could mean Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Death, Beyond Creation, Gorguts, Neuraxis, Obscura, Cryptopsy, and many more. Hailing from the small island nation of Malta, comes Abysmal Torment, who want you to know in no uncertain terms they can carry the weight. Their new album The Misanthrope (Willowtip) is a brutal exploration of the style in every track.
Having been around nearly twenty, years and recording for fifteen, Abysmal Torment have a reputation for having upper echelon players and writers. The Misanthrope is tightly written, low on filler, and unrelenting. Each song a short, sharp, stab into your senses. Each song is a brutal little moment in time. Crushing beats, jagged riffs, and grotesque vocals. From the first blastbeat to the last, this album is in overdrive almost every second.
Well-versed in the greats like classic Corpse and Necrophagist, but also fans of grind bands too, many of the tracks are dotted with some cool samples that break up the monotony of the near white noise spawning hum of chaos. Tracks like the opener ‘Revelation’, the title track, ‘Squalid Thoughts’, “Dread’, ‘The Pessimist’, and ‘Worship None’ are just mind-bending in terms of technical greatness and how heavy they can be. However, except for ‘The Pessimist’, ‘Strains of Brutality’ and the closing number ‘Iconoclast’, there is little deviation in the tempos or feel. This isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes you got to let those grooves out to breath a little.
This is a solid album, of well-written, incredibly played death metal. A good fit for your lifting mix or your beer drinking sesh.