|TormentoR – ‘Morbid Realization’ (Iron Shield)|
|Written by Jonni D|
|Monday, 13 March 2017 04:00|
Thus far, 2017 has been a rather stellar year when it comes to thrash metal. Mainstays like Kreator and Overkill have released some of their best material in years, while newer blood Power Trip have followed in the footsteps of Vektor, injecting a fresh vigour and a broader creative vision into the genre. While the best days of The Big Four may be well and truly behind them, the last few months alone are evidence that there are a handful of bands spearheading the direction of thrash, taking it down some very interesting avenues. ‘Morbid Realization’, the upcoming release from TormentoR, is further proof that thrash is enjoying something of a renaissance, as they have crafted a ferocious bunch of songs that harken back to the glory days of the genre, while still sounding inherently vital in the current metal scene.
The clean tones and finger-picking section of the intro track ‘Hope’ quickly bursts into a power metal–esque bombastic gallop, the first indication that Tormentor are masters of dynamics within an individual song. This is even more so the case with the blisteringly anthemic ‘Kill With No Excuse’, with bassist Christian Schomber stealing the show with his funk-tinged lines before the trilling guitars and double bass onslaught round off the impressive instrumentation. It doesn’t hurt that the chorus is an absolute belter as well. The consistency in quality throughout ‘Morbid Realization’ makes for an enthralling listening experience, as there is quite simply not a moment of filler to be found.
The title track takes the guise of a seven-minute thrash epic, bearing the complexity of ‘…And Justice For All’ era Metallica, and the intensity of early Testament. The rhythm section is once again in fine form, with drummer Thomas Wedemeyer conducting the numerous tempo changes with masterful proficiency throughout the gradual build of the song, culminating in a relentless blitzkrieg of riffing. ‘Comprehension Failed’ conversely is a fierce but brief blast of punk infused metal, with vocalist/guitarist Max Seipke showing his chops as he climbs into higher registers towards the track’s end. From here the band explore New Wave of British Heavy Metal on ‘Endless Emptiness’, psychedelic effects on ‘Burning Empires’ and the overt European thrash of their German brothers Kreator on ‘Walk Past Myself.’ The album highlight, ‘Forgotten’, sees Tormentor explore extreme terrains, with the verses bordering into black metal with the tremolo picking from the guitars and Max’s pseudo-spoken word delivery. It’s easily the heaviest track on here, and is positively crushing in intensity.
Kreator frontman Mille Petrozza has expressed his fondness for TormentoR, and it’s quite clear to see the appeal. ‘Morbid Realization’ is a thunderous and thrilling album that takes interesting and unexpected turns through its duration, and is a wonderful reminder of the quality control on those early thrash albums of the 1980s. At the same time, the band doesn’t shy away from exploration, resulting in a formidable and expansive collection of songs. Although the old guard may be beginning wind down, bands like Tormentor prove that there is plenty of vigour left in thrash metal, and that there is still more ground to be covered.
‘Morbid Realization’ is released on Friday (17 March).
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