TORTURE KILLER - FOR MAGGOTS TO DEVOUR - KARMAGEDDON/CANDLELIGHT
It must be lonely being Torture Killer and living in Finland. The country that has brought us heaps of pop schlock like Nightwish, Amorphis and Finntroll - and called it metal - can't look too fondly at a bunch of misfits practicing real metal high art. Then again, the country still has acts like Impaled Nazarene and the recent Deathchain disc was not half bad either so there might yet be hope for this forsaken land.
Regardless of the state of things in Finland Torture Killer is an extreme death metal band with bloody lyrics and more gore to spare. The veteran musicians are a cross between Vomitory and an improved Six Feet Under. The music is mostly mid-paced and the vocals of the Chris Barnes variety - growls with the occasional screams. The band is a quintet, but solos are rare and the ones available seem more ceremonial than bona fide attempts at playing the lead guitar. As for the cover... yummy mummy! - Ali "The Metallian"
TORTURE KILLER - SWARM! - METAL BLADE
A partial list of things not usually greeted with enthusiasm here at Metallian Towers includes words like Finland, Chris Barnes, Six Feet Under and long distance relationships. Surprising then that the more Swarm! floods out of the speakers at Metallian Towers, the better the whole damn putrid death metal droppings sound. In other words, maybe four negatives do a make a right!
Right now Torture Killer, which is named after a Six Feet Under song and as legend has it started out as a Chris Barnes cover band, must be as happy as Donald Rumsfeld at a ballistic missile bombing of some far away country (ah, that long distance relationship again!). The Finns, having managed to nick their favourite growler as a loaner, have also converted the coup into a deal with Mr. Metal Blade and issued an album full of pounding death metal, strong, but basic, sound and a killer cover illustration. In other words, this is the best thing Chris Barnes has been involved with since his days as a fine young cannibal. In fact, songs like Sadistic, A Funeral For The Masses or Cannibal Gluttony (hint!) are probably going to lead to the firing of the whole lot of them in Six Feet Under in favour of the pesky Finns on this album. The songs are surprisingly powerful and dynamic, the bass audible, the drum triggers together and the guitars sharp. Even Chris Barnes is more in tune with himself in Cannibal Corpse than his shoddy warbling in 6FU. Does that mean it is always an advantage to record the music and the vocals separately? Maybe not, but it sure works here. Songs like the aforementioned Cannibal Gluttony with its digitized effect, Forever Dead with its enthusiastic frolic through the minefields of death metal psychosis or Obsessed With Homicide and its varied and entertaining riffs are sure to bring any party to its natural conclusion.
Who knows, maybe this is the way of the future and Glen Benton and Vital Remains were only a dry run for things to come? Bands of tomorrow will not only travel in separate buses; they will live and play on different continents hence ensuring stable line-ups for decades to come. So far, so good. - Ali “The Metallian”
TORTURE KILLER - SEWERS - DYNAMIC ARTS
Dynamic Arts seems to continue to snap up bands that have left other labels, Metal Blade in Torture Killer’s case. First impressions of Sewers are a mix of the Obituary and Six Feet Under sound. The vocals are deep and somewhat monotonous and the music perhaps only slightly more dynamic than the aforementioned Americans. The third song, Art Of Impalement, tries to re-create a Slayer, Reign In Blood feel to start then jumps into a more growling Obituary. By The Corpse continues the trend and is not too unlike the Floridians. By the time Coffins comes along Torture Killer can be vulnerable to accusations of being rip-offs, especially in the riff execution and sound department. Rats Can Sense The Murder is speedier and therefore becomes more death metal rather than the mid-paced fair before it. Scourging At The Pillar is like a continuation, as most of Sewers, and does not offer much in terms of variation except perhaps the addition of some screaming vocals. The title track closes this third album with some news samples from Russia reporting on corrupt politicians and/or mafia members, where the crime victims were apparently found in sewers! - Anna Tergel