Hailing from Los Angeles, Tormenter(with an e, not an o) had an album and two EP’s under their belt ahead of Static Tension picking up sophomore album Prophetic Deceiver, which was originally self-released at the tail end of last year. And, fair play to them, they’ve picked up an album laden with quality non-cliché thrash, and while the band had previously flown under the radar, this is definitely a release that deserves to be promoted and pushed.
While Biotoxic Warfare may have already stolen the prize of this year’s surprise thrash package, Tormenter nevertheless have a very worthwhile product on their hands. Steeped in the aggressive tropes of Kreator, with the throaty barks of Carlos Rodelo adding the sharpest of teeth to the whirl of riffs and taut precision of Thomas Bonilla’s percussion, a further ace in the hole is Kory Alvarez and his Steve di Giorgio styled bass walks augmenting the sound with class.
The spirit of Schuldiner presides throughout, ingrained in the violence, an intrinsic and regular marker, but it is in the ball park of German thrashery and less staccato, more progressive music that Tormenter play, with Beneath The Remains (Roadrunner) a ready comparator. In amongst some lock-jaw, rhythmic right-wrist pace songs loop off with 80’s Megadeth melodic fish-hooks before lurching into the crunch, and there are several welcome moments of diversity. Other tracks are spiky, technical numbers with more than an off-beat nod to the Scandinavian grind of the early 90’s.
That said, considering the seriousness and attack of the music, it’s a shame Tormenter have such a stock name and album cover, as the barrage of constricted riffage is serious, caustic and full of intent. Yet, ignoring such peripherals leaves a release that has served not just to, rightly, get Tormenter noticed, but put them firmly on the map. Should they bring something different to the image and visuals, and with further progression and development of their song-writing by working on incorporating more of the …And Justice For All (Vertigo) dark, progressive elements of their sound, Tormenter could make an even bigger impression next time around.