Old school death from some well-known players
Given the names associated with Tormented, it’s surprising that the Swedish death metal act hasn’t attracted more attention. I mean after all, vocalist/guitarist Andreas ‘Dread’ Axelsson has been a member of renown progressive death metal outfit Edge of Sanity and Marduk, guitarist Claes Holmberg has made a guest appearance on Intestinal’s recent effort (2012’s ‘The Rottening’), bassist Roberth Karlsson with Edge of Sanity, Scar Symmetry, Devian and Pan.Thy.Monium and drummer Jocke Ölund in Tortyr (a hardcore/punk band that features all the members of Tormented).
Even after releasing a full-length effort (2009’s Rotten Death through Iron Fist Productions), a split with Bombs of Hades (2011) and an E.P. (2012’s Graveyard Lust through War Anthem Records), for reasons unknown, Tormented seemed to have passed under the radar by most. But that’s not to say they’ve been completely ignored, with Listenable Records recently signing up the band, and making it a high priority to get them exposure with a re-release of their overlooked debut effort Rotten Death.
Apart from a revised packaging, Rotten Death is virtually the same as the original, which is a shame because at a total running length of just over 33 minutes, a few bonus tracks would have been a nice incentive to reinvest in a new copy of the album.
Despite the lack of extras, Tormented’s debut effort is worth keeping an eye out for if you’re after an album that is unashamedly old school death metal. From the buzzing guitar tones, the lack of noticeable bass, lyrics that centre solely on all things death related and a vocal performance that delivers his lines with a guttural (yet decipherable) ravished growls, Rotten Death is every bit the real deal, even if it was released some twenty years after the birth of classic old school Swedish death metal.
Although nothing stands out as an absolute classic within the nine tracks the band offer up throughout Rotten Death, tracks such as the title track ‘Rotten Death’ (which hints at a slight punk rock influence amongst its speedy riff work), the catchy Vengeance From Beyond The Grave, the gore drenched Drowning in Decaying Flesh, Tomb of Corpses and Reversed Funeral (the latter two feature guest guitar solos from ex-Guidance of Sin/Vicious Art guitarist Tobbe Sillman) are the definite highlights.
Tormented aren’t giving listeners anything they haven’t heard before from within the death metal realm on Rotten Death. But then when it’s done this well, and by such revered names that played their part in helping to shape the Swedish scene’s early history, is there really any need to reinvent the wheel?
(Listenable Records/Rocket Distribution)