At first glance of the title, one would think it’s awfully close to Chris Barnes‘s former band Cannibal Corpse’s album Torture (Metal Blade), and this is only where the problems begin. The twelfth album for Barnes and hired guns is definitely not the strongest Six Feet Under release, nor the most well thought out. Bassist/guitarist on this record Jeff Hughell and drummer Marco Pitruzzella are both formerly of Brain Drill and coming from such a technically diverse band this is really a huge step back for them.
It is hard being both original and brutal in Death Metal, but when done in proper proportion it can be amazing and really make the listener want to listen repeatedly. Torment (Metal Blade) however is the polar opposite of that. This is the least technical sounding record the band has put out and with two writing partners that are capable of so much more, it seems they took the easy route and wrote slightly more accessible; music that could be called “Death Metal Light” or even “Death Metal for Beginners”. Not to say that anything Six Feet Under has done is mind-altering or game-changing in the world of metal, but with a past of so many great contributions, one would think that each album could possibly out do the previous. Sadly, this album misses that mark.
Another issue that many listeners could have is with Barnes’s choice of only doing the most muffled and indecipherable vocals he possibly can, even though he’s very capable of a vast range on a sound he helped create, often times sounding like a barking dog with modulation effects on it. One of the biggest vocal issues on this record is the song ‘Bloody Underwear’. That track alone would be an instant turn off for any listener as the vocals are completely inaudible with the exception of the repeating of the title.
There are a few good riffs and some great bass playing on this record but none of it stacks up to any of its contemporaries in terms of the technicality or heaviness that the genre is known for. Overall Torment falls flat and barely delivers; a lacklustre product from some very respected musicians.