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> TORMENTER
Band: TORMENTER
Title: Pulse of Terror
Format: CD
Release Date: 26/Oct/2010
Price: $12.00 USD

EBM records presents the 6th offering of the "Thrash is Back" Series.

Straight off the streets of LA, Tormenter is a 5-piece Speed Thrash entity ready to bring the LA metal scene to a new level. The band has vigorously been working hard to establish themselves as one of the premiere bands in LA. Taking influence from bands like Testament, Exodus, Kreator, Razor, Sepultura, and Metallica; Tormenter has developed a sound they can call their own. The band has released the EP "Assault From Beyond the Grave" which was met to great interest. They have had the honor of gracing several stages in the LA area as well as other areas in CA, with such bands as Exodus, Destruction, and Obituary. With a positive outlook on the things to come the band is prepared make a fan out of anyone to come into their presence.

Cover Artwork by killer Artist Jumali Katani.

> Track List
1. Gallery of reality 7. Inhumanity personified
2. Absolution 8. A season in the plague
3. No anesthesia 9. Severe enforcement
4. Pulse of terror 10. Assault from beyond the grave
5. Hunger for violence 11. Dismantle the world
6. Messiah on trial 12. Pantheon of lunacy
> Sound Sample


 

> Reviews
True Metal

Davvero encomiabile l'iniziativa dell'etichetta messicano EBM Records di portare all'attenzione dei più, molti di quei dischi usciti recentemente senz'altro meritevoli di attenzione ma passati un po' in sordina, vuoi perché negli ultimi anni il mercato è stato saturato dalle continue uscite in campo thrash, vuoi perché certi nomi non fanno ovviamente il clamore dei Big, essendo perlopiù debuttanti e senza contratto. 

“Thrash Is Back” : questo il nome della serie di pubblicazioni pescate dalla label in ogni angolo del globo.   

Che il lavoro dell'etichetta fosse capillare e certosino alla ricerca di gruppi talentuosi da ogni dove, si era percepito nell'assoldare alcune band nostrane promettenti come Sofisticator, Violentor e recentemente i thrasher lombardi Torment e così anche per tante altre realtà del panorama internazionale. Oggetto di questa disamina, infatti, è il debutto dei californiani - di chiara origine meticcia - Tormenter , intitolato “Pulse Of Terror” . Inizialmente uscito nel 2010, l'album è stato ripreso e pubblicato nuovamente dall'attenta label durante l'anno in corso.  

Come recitava un vecchio adagio di un celebre cantautore italico, «ci vuole orecchio» e all'EBM effettivamente sembrano averlo, visto che per il momento pare non abbiano sbagliato un colpo, o quasi. Non fa eccezione “Pulse Of Terror” un album piuttosto solido e compatto, che potrebbe fare la felicità di tutti gli amanti del thrash per antonomasia: quello degli eighties . O meglio, quel thrash primigenio ancora in parte legato a certi stilemi della NWOBHM (come testimonia per esempio l'opener “Gallery Of Reality”  o “Dismantle The World” ), che tuttavia dispensa bordate metalliche poderose e affilate come rasoi e che, quindi, lascia solo intravedere quel genere di retaggio. Il debutto dei Tormenter , infatti, è caratterizzato da un thrash senza compromessi che riporta alla mente i primi lavori di Testament, Exodus, Metallica, Slayer e Dark Angel. Poco male se talvolta sentirete riecheggiare melodie o gli storici riff di brani come “Whiplash” , “Piranha” o “Apocalyptic City” , quello che conta è che non siano, in questo caso, gli elementi portanti del brano: non si può parlare di plagio spudorato, perché sono stati inseriti in un'orditura abbastanza diversa da quella ‘originale'. Buona, quindi, la prova dei due axemen Funes e Rodriguez , i quali, senza sfoggiare grandi doti tecniche, si mettono in mostra per un riffing work vario e dinamico. I due preferiscono nettamente riff al fulmicotone e soli dissonanti – un esempio su tutti la micidiale title-track, che sembra un incrocio malsano tra gli Slayer di “Reign In Blood” e i Dark Angel di “Darkness Descends” – sfiorando quasi l'aggressività della scuola teutonica, ma se la cavano bene anche quando si tratta di macinare mid-tempo rocciosi. Va detto poi che il lavoro delle chitarre è condotto molto bene da batteria e basso, nonostante quest'ultimo sia un po' penalizzato da una comunque ottima produzione. Suoni molto secchi e graffianti dal vago gusto retrò , a dimostrazione di quanto poco importino budget elevati per far suonare bene un disco thrash. Specie se poi anche le super produzioni delle major finiscono per soffocare il basso, oltre a far sembrare il suono delle chitarre come un'unica muraglia impenetrabile, invece di renderle abrasive come carta vetrata.  

Inutile fare un track by track, giacché “Pulse Of Terror” si rivela godibile dalla prima all'ultima traccia. Casomai, quello che emerge dai circa sessanta minuti di durata è un'eccessiva lunghezza dell'album, nonostante non ci siano importanti cali e la presenza di ottime tracce come  “Inhumanity Personified” . Sarebbe stato senz'altro sufficiente inserire una decina di tracce maggiormente curate e distinguibili, per essere più facilmente fruibile. Puntando a definire più chiaramente la propria personalità (non necessariamente, originalità) i Tormenter potrebbero confezionare un secondo album davvero convincente. 

Global Thrash Assault
Tormenter are an LA based five-piece thrash metal band who have been establishing themselves a loyal fan base for a number of years now. Personally I've enjoyed the music of Tormenter ever since the bands self released debut album "Assault From Beyond The Grave." A few short years have passed since the bands first album, and the bands hard work has paid off in a big way. Signed to EBM Records , Tormenter have recently released their second album - "Pulse of Terror"  With a release date a little while back my anticipation for this album as been immense, and after listening to this album I can say it was well worth the wait!

As I mentioned earlier Tormenter are a band I am quite familiar with and right off the bat I noticed that the band re-recorded two of my favorite tracks that could be found on the bands first album -  "No Anesthesia"  and  "Assault From Beyond The Grave."  These re-recording breath new life into these tracks giving both a great production quality, which is something that can be found on all 12 tracks of  Pulse of Terror . With such great production throughout the album, Tormenter's love for Bay Area Thrash metal, in particular Testament and Exodus becomes quite evident. However just about anyone who is a fan of the thrash metal genre will find something unique and original with what Tormenter have brought to the table on their second album.

Thrash metal has always been a genre with something relevant to say. On Pulse of Terror , Tormenter clearly get a lot of their chest. However the thing that makes this album stand tall above the rest is the precision playing executed by the band. Simply put Tormenter is made up of high caliber musicians who know how to shred. Impressive lead guitar work, aggressive drumming that makes the listener feel like they are pinned down in a trench under heavy machine gun fire and riffs that will give even the most seasoned thrasher a severe case of whiplash are all things that make Pulse of Terror a must own album.

BOTTOM LINE: Tormenter has really impressed me with this release. Previous fans of this band will be blown away by how much this already killer band has matured and developed a sound that is uniquely their own. I highly recommend this album to anyone who is in search of some killer thrash metal by one of the most promising bands in the New Wave of Thrash Metal.
Metal France

Une chronique juste pour les malades de thrash old school, de ceux qui chassent le moindre petit groupe évoluant dans ce style.

Dans sa série « thrash is back », le label EBM records, propose de redécouvrir pas mal de formations peu connues qui déversent leur thrash old school, de par le vaste monde.

Là, il s'agit de Tormenter, groupe ricain et de leur album « Pulse of Terror », paru en 2010.

Ces californiens pratiquent du old school à la sauce Bay area.

C'est porté par des tempos speed, des riffs classiques et dans chaque titre on trouve des plages instrumentales assez mélodieuses où les solos ont la part belle, avec des changements de tempos à la clé.

Le mixage est lui aussi à « l'ancienne ». Quand les six cordes partent en soli elles sont très en avant. Même chose pour la voix, avec un soupçon d'écho, qui débite ses mots plus en les dictant qu'en les chantant. Bref, pour les amateurs on se croirait revenu dans les années 80'.

Alors certains diront que cela fait daté, que cela manque de maturité, de relief, d'originalité. C'est sûr, mais les fans de « vielle école » y trouveront leur compte, car ce thrash est empreint de ce cachet de ce qui fait toute la différence.

Juste pour les thrasheurs en mal de la sincérité de jadis.

À retenir : » Messiah on Trial” et “Hunger for Violence”.

Rock Music Critic
Tormenter is an L.A. thrash band who happens to be EBM Records re-release label mates with Prophecy and Armor Column, two bands I reviewed last week. I have to say I'm pretty impressed with EBM, they are three for three with me so far; “Pulse of Terror” is another killer thrash album.

I said that Prophecy sounded influenced by Testament and Exodus, and while Tormenter does not sound like Prophecy, I would say they are influenced by those bands too. Everything about “Pulse of Terror” screams Bay Area thrash. This is one of the few “new” thrash albums to transport me back to the mindset I had in high school during the late 80s. For some reason, this takes me back to the night I camped out (needlessly) with two friends for Justice Tour Metallica tickets.

The sound is old school thrash and the production is a mix from both the past and current eras. Like the thrash from the 80s, the production is fairly mid-and- high frequency oriented giving the album a tight and crisp sound. The production gives a nod to current production standards by sounding much clearer and in your face; there's also probably slightly more low-end than classic recordings would have had. This production is the best of both worlds.

Oh wow, track 6, “Messiah on Trial”, starts off with clean guitars that sound extremely reminiscent of “Gods of Wrath” off the debut Metal Church album. That is one of my all time favorite Metal Church songs, featuring the incredible vocal talents of the late David Wayne. The rest of the song is totally different, but that intro has made me want to dig into some Metal Church next. “Severe Enforcement” starts off with some rhythmic riffage that immediately brings to mind “Creeping Death” and “Assault from Beyond the Grave” manages to combine some “Legacy”-era Testament vocal elements with some rather “And Then There Were None” Exodus-style music. I love it.

Most thrash albums seem to clock in around 30-45 minutes, but “Pulse of Terror” is a staggering 60 minutes of metal music. They certainly give you your money's worth.

I know some people are getting tired of the new thrash thing, but so far I still love it and cannot get enough. I feel Tormenter, despite their slightly misspelled name, are an excellent addition to the thrash gene pool. Since this was first released in 2010, I hope they are currently hard at work on a follow up album. Check them out on their Facebook, MySpace or Reverbnation pages.
Metal Temple
As a part of the ongoing force to bring Thrash Metal back to its golden years, there are bands from the US scene has been attempting to recreate the raging moshpits of the 80s. Most of them have been doing it quite well like BONDED BY BLOOD , MUNICIPAL WASTE and WARBRINGER ; on the other hand in order to truly be aware of the core foundations of the genre, I believe that you must listen to bands like the L.A. street fighters of TORMENTER . I discern that their name is kind of weird but if you want a Thrashy name that would not be the same as others, one should be obliged to devise and play word games in order to be a little more unique. Leaving the name aside, “Pulse Of Terror” , released by EBM Records , is one of the factual 80s Thrash Metal sensations nearly without a shred of new permutations on the side that would pronounce otherwise.

Studying and embracing the arts of old school Thrash from old timers as MEGADETH , TESTAMENT , METALLICA , KREATOR and RAZOR , “Pulse Of Terror” marches with speed forward and with clenched fist as one of these albums that don't have any sort of connection to the current scene, whether in Thrash or in Metal in general. First of all there is the production that is one of the foremost things that charged the energies that this onslaught of a release has. As a true fan of the old sound of Metal, especially in Thrash Metal, TORMENTER weren't even close to invent something new, yet the limited rawness brought back sweet memories where pompous productions weren't around the corner. In technical terms that concern the production, the main issues were in the mixing process. Whoever was in charge of the mixing work probably didn't put to notice of how the bass drum choked the other channels while the rhythms starting charging forward in full throttle. One of the songs even displayed triggers, or at least I thought it was, that didn't let me enjoy the guitars and bass, needless to say that the vocals were practically out of range.

After the sound attributes there is the material. By and large, “Pulse Of Terror” didn't change anything in 80s Thrash Metal, however, the mixture of influences that range from the technical features of MEGADETH and TESTAMENT and the frenzy features of the older versions of KREATOR , METALLICA and RAZOR , made the band compose some intriguing songs, sadly that these songs weren't the vast majority of the album that merely repeated the same aged ideas that were the breeding ground for so many bands long gone. However, the “Pulse Of Terror” album harbors songs that pursue the true origins of the subgenre devoid of blinking or twitching towards the future. “Messiah On Trial” is a Thrash epic classic of both articulation and sheer aggression just like in the old days. I just wish that the older groups would releases at least a single album that would come about the same approach and hard attitude as shown on this song.

I would definitely check out “Pulse Of Terror”  because there are times where the new-fangled stance of the new Thrash Metal bands is just too fresh. Sometimes the term “Back To Basics” isn't such a nasty phrase.
Metal of Death Zine

Un disco Thrash "difficile", sì, difficile, di quelli che richiedono almeno 5 ascolti per essere compresi appieno e, di conseguenza, apprezzati. Questa è la natura di "Pulse Of Terror" debutto degli americani Tormenter. La band, dopo alcuni EP e demo giunge nel 2010 alla pubblicazione del debutto.

Lo stile dei Nostri è accomunabile sicuramente al Thrash di stampo US (Testament su tutti): produzione decisamente curata, songs relativamente lunghe (a volte anche troppo per i miei gusti) e una padronanza degli strumenti che li discosta da gran parte delle altre band affini. Vi dirò, pur non essendo questo il tipo di Thrash che amo maggiormente, "Pulse Of Terror" mi ha positivamente colpito: è sì tecnico e curato, ma riesce a mantenere quell'attitudine capace di farti scapocciare per tutta la durata dell'album. A volte le canzoni si rivelano prolisse, come nel caso di "Messiah On Trial", quasi 7 minuti, e se la concentrazione cala è facile annoiarsi.

Se vorrete però dare una chance a questi ragazzi e ascoltare con attenzione il loro lavoro non ve ne pentirete, un plauso particolare al lavoro di basso che per una volta risalta alla perfezione tessendo tappeti ritmici che non necessariamente si incastrano con quanto fatto dalle chitarre, rendendo quindi il suono più corposo.
Si tratta quindi del debutto di una band con tutte le carte in regola per fare strada, non avranno composto un capolavoro ma trovare dischi Thrash che suonino così genuini nel 2012 non è cosa da poco a mio parere.

VOTO: 70/100

Rock en Cuba

Continuamos reseñando disco del sello EBM Records de su serie "Thrash is Back". Estos thrasher de Tormentor que son un quinteto provienen de Los Ángeles. Se formaron en el 2007 y después de dos demos y un EP han logrado grabar este "Pulse of terror".

Un disco que parece se edito en 2010 y que EBM Records lo reedito el pasado año. A veces hay muy poca información incluida en ciertas producciones y la verdad cuando son bandas no muy conocidas hay que estar buscando información adicional en Internet.

La banda ha compartido escena con grandes bandas como: Exodus, Obituary, Destruction y D.R.I.

Por los apellidos de la mayoría de los músicos suponen un origen tal vez chicano, su thrash es el de toda la vida, no hay aderezos ni guirnaldas. Partes aceleradas se combinan con otras mas técnica buenas guitarras y una voz muy en la onda.

Están claramente influenciados por gente como: Testament, Exodus, Kreator, Razor, Sepultura, los primeros Metallica y yo añadiría alguna pizca de Slayer, sino escucha el track 4 que da titulo al disco "Pulse of terror", pero sobretodo la 9: "A season in the plague", aunque predomina el sonido Bay Area, muy bien hecho.

Hay buenos solos y ricas marchas, potentes para darle movimiento a las cervicales, gran trabajo de los guitarras y el drum muy acelerado y machacante.

La producción no es brillante, aunque suena bien, pero mejorable, la portada es muy thrasher, desde que la vi me recordó a Sacred Reich, no por nada especifico que tenga que ver con la portada pero si tiene ese feeling de critica social que dicho sea de paso esta realizada por el artista Jumali Katan, que creo es de Singapur.

Son una banda aunque supongo que venir de donde vienen les supondrá un mayor esfuerzo por la competencia que tienen, aunque claro también por que podrían tener un golpe de suerte y triunfar a lo grande, condiciones tienen, mas que muchas supuestas estrellitas estrelladas que salen por ahí.

Si te gusta el thrash de "verdad", este disco lo puedes disfrutar de cabo a rabo, hazte con el ya, pillate un pack de birras, prende tu equipo de sonido y dale movimiento al güiro mi socio.

Como dije al inicio lo edita o lo re-edita EBM Records el próximo 31 de enero para todo el mundo, muy acertado el lanzamiento de esta serie de discos bajo el apelativo de "Thrash is Back", por ser bandas poco conocidas fuera de sus respectivas escenas, un gran acierto del sello, ojala les vaya bien bien en lo económico (cosa difícil por estos tiempos) pero que a servido para descubrir buenas bandas de muchas partes del mundo que hacen buen thrash metal.

Metal Wave
Se non fosse che gli americani Tormenter appartengano a questa decade musicale giurerei di aver ascoltato un disco Thrash degli ultimi anni 80 dello scorso secolo. Freschi di firma per la EBM Records, gli shredders di El Monte (California) hanno deciso di pubblicare il loro debut-album, consci della gavetta costituita da due demo (“Hammeread” 2007 e “Hunger for Violence” 2009) e da un EP (“Assault from Beyond the Grave” 2008) ora è giunto effettivamente il tempo di andare sulle lunghe distanze e poco importa se il genere affrontato è tipicamente old-school ed esente da qualsiasi tipo di originalità. Non credo che ai nostri importi di risultare icone dell'innovazione nonostante non posseggano la classica formazione Thrash Metal, cantante/chitarrista o bassista etc. Questo indubbiamente ha fatto sì che il singer Charlie Blitz si sia dedicato prevalentemente alla precisione sulle voci e i due chitarristi Rodriguez e Funes si sono concentrati sulla tecnica.

Con questi presupposti, “Pulse Of Terror” appare un disco Thrash piacevole, forse composto da composizioni troppo lunghe per un minutaggio totale che si aggira all'ora, e costituito da diverse mitragliate di batteria che non sceglie di seguire il classico tempo-tipo stereotipo del genere e che alle lunghe risulta stucchevole.
Qui di revival, in fondo ci sono tematiche e stile ma probabilmente ascoltando la title-track “Pulse of Terror”, “Inhumanity Personified” e “Severe Enforcement” sarà ben difficile restare indifferenti, più che altro per l'enorme tecnica adoperata dai nostri.
Certo, non che alle lunghe non ci si stufi ma almeno c'è passione da vendere.
Metallized
Stavolta non voglio fare preamboli ed inutili orpelli e preferisco andare immediatamente al nocciolo della questione: ragazzi, la casa discografica EBM Records merita un encomio per aver scovato un signor gruppo thrash! I Tormenter , provenienti da Los Angeles, hanno sfornato il loro primo full lenght, intitolato Pulse Of Terror e certamente capace di soddisfare al 100% tutte le aspettative dei veri amanti del thrash old style. La band si era già fatta notare con il confortante EP Assault From Beyond The Grave del 2008 e ha avuto modo di esibirsi con formazioni del calibro di Exodus , Destruction e Obituary , raccogliendo favorevoli consensi.

Il quintetto americano ci propone dodici travolgenti canzoni infarcite di riffing rabbiosi, assolo impetuosi e cambi di ritmo mozzafiato. Se ci aggiungiamo che il singer Charlie Blitz dispone di una voce a dir poco abrasiva e che la sezione ritmica pesta a dovere per tutta la durata del disco, il quadro complessivo credo sia fin troppo esaustivo. Anche l'utilizzo di alcuni cori e linee melodiche (poche in verità) sempre azzeccate conferisce al platter una veste complessiva davvero intrigante. Non ho remore nell'affermare che Pulse Of Terror , peraltro ottimamente prodotto, è uno dei migliori lavori nel genere che ho avuto modo di ascoltare quest'anno. Siamo al cospetto di un'ora scarsa di martellante thrash d'annata che pesca a piene mani dalle lezioni impartite ai tempi d'oro dai conterranei Exodus , Megadeth , Floatsam & Jetsam e Testament . Non vi aspettate, pertanto, nulla di differente, poiché i Tormenter non hanno minimamente la pretesa di voler essere a tutti i costi innovativi, tuttavia va loro riconosciuto il merito di saper sorprendere ugualmente, proponendo un livello nel songwriting notevole. Come detto, questa formazione ricalca pedissequamente le direttrici tracciate negli anni ottanta e propone una musica viscerale, diretta, senza compromessi e interessante sotto il profilo tecnico, specie per quanto concerne il lavoro alle chitarre del duo Funes / Rodriguez . A voler cercare il pelo nell'uovo, direi che probabilmente una maggiore essenzialità avrebbe giovato nella valutazione complessiva del platter, tenuto anche conto dell'eccessiva lunghezza e del fatto che sono state riproposti ben quattro brani noti – erano già stati inclusi due ciascuno nel summenzionato EP e nel demo Hunger For Violence del 2009. A parte questa considerazione negativa, alla quale aggiungerei anche un artwork non propriamente eccelso, si rimane totalmente inebriati di fronte alla devastazione sonora di pezzi come Gallery Of Reality , Absolution , No Anesthesia e così via fino alle conclusive Dismantle The World e Pantheon Of Lunacy .

In linea generale non si ravvisano momenti di stanca e si giunge stremati al termine di questo pregevole album nel quale i Tormenter dimostrano un'attitudine da applauso per un combo emergente. Beh, che aspettate? Non lo avete ancora capito? Andate a procurarvi immediatamente Pulse Of Terror ! Non ve ne pentirete!
Metal CD Ratings

Of the 4 thrash CDs released or re-released by EBM Records that I have been tasked with reviewing of late, Tormenter's ‘Pulse of terror' stands out in a few ways. The longest, arguably the heaviest, easily the most complex and the most modern, it is a CD that is a slightly tough nut to crack, but offers plenty of rewards for dedicated thrashers looking for something both familiar and imaginative.

The debut efforts from the German-loving Serbs Toxic Trace and Pollution, and 80s survivors Prophecy were well worth the positive write-ups I gave them, but are rather different from this one in that they are knowingly, wilfully old-fashioned thrash, and while Tormenter's first love is clearly in the same field, they have a few other ideas in mind too.

Not the dreaded ‘modern thrash' the opening couple of paragraphs may have set you up for, ‘Pulse of terror' remains strictly 80s-rooted, but takes a great deal more cues from the increased technicality and brutality of the latter end of the decade as well as the early 90s. At 60 minutes, it can be a challenging listen, but Tormenter write with enough variety and energy that it doesn't ever feel like listening to the same couple of songs on repeat as the CD wears on.

While not anything as crazily over-the-top as say, Watchtower, the levels of technicality on display are impressive to behold, the rate at which riffs are suddenly discarded for something of a completely different tempo stunning to behold. The relentless intensity fosters a suffocating, chaotic atmosphere that will completely engulf the listener after a few songs.

But in saying that, ‘Pulse of terror' is not merely a Vio-lence style bundling together of as many plundering riffs as possible, and the songs follow a few different approaches to ensure the CD doesn't become bogged down in repetition. Too many thrash CD released lately shoot themselves in the foot by trying to draw too few ideas out for far too long, but the painstakingly-crafted songs here flow as smoothly as something this aggressive and hectic can do, showing the care and attention put into the writing. The slower “Messiah on trial” and the closing stunner “Pantheon of lunacy”, a little more open, melodic and expansive than most of its brethren, also show that Tormenter have more in the tank than just browbeating.

Vocalist Charlie Rodelos initially didn't sound too impressive to me, a little run-of-the-mill in many regards, but a little deeper listening goes a long way. He doesn't have the most distinctive of voices, admittedly, but does an admirable job of keeping pace with the often frantic music, and manages to swing back and forth between tunefulness and aggression with surprising ease. In the melody department he is kept company by a pair of talented and versatile guitarists – their lead work often goes for the more frenetic, noodling approach but just as often an attractive neo-classical-inspired solo will take centre stage, showing a bit of their Testament influence in the process.

The production is also something that takes a bit of getting used to – the rhythm section are a metronome-perfect, piston-flailing machine, and the CD seems to have been mixed to allow them as much exposure as possible. It's great to hear the bass and drums so loud and clear as they are here, particularly to catch every second of Thomas Bonilla's amazing, fill-happy performance behind the kit, but in places it does feel as though the guitars are being swamped and the songs can occasionally sound a little off balance due to this.

Other than that there are few complaints – it would be uncharitable to describe the CD as “exhausting”, but it certainly can be something of an endurance test and only hardened thrash nuts will be able to spin it on repeat. In a market that has gone from shockingly underpopulated to arguably oversaturated in just a few short years, it is getting harder and harder for upcoming thrash bands to stand out. Those like Tormenter who takes the essence of the genre's beloved golden years and apply this much craft and inspiration to it are the ones that deserve to rise to the top.

Rating: 4/5

Lords of Metal

Under the moniker of ‘The Thrash Is Back Series, The New Forces In Thrash Metal' EBM Records brought us this month our first appointment with Tormenter (what's in a name?) from California. Tormenter released this first full length of theirs already in 2010, but now it is easier to get thanks to EBM.

Should we be happy about this? Well, this depends on how thrash metal minded you are. I think that ‘Pulse Of Terror' is mainly an album for the thrash fanatics amongst you. The music from this five headed band can easily be described as a mixture of old (think of Testament riffs from the eighties), new (think of an act such as Warbringer) and every now and then a bit more melodic. Sometimes the result of this is fast and spicy as in ‘A Season In the Plague' (with some cool double bass drums in it), or ‘Severe Enforcement' and the title track (with a couple of nice breaks in it). During ‘Absolution' and ‘Assault From Beyond The Grave' we hear a good drive in the songs, nice solos but also too much repeating riffs and a song like opener ‘Gallery Of Reality' is packed with a couple of interesting ideas. On the other hand I have to say that not every piece of work is of the same quality level. A 'No Anesthesia', ‘Inhumanity Personified' and ‘Dismantle The World' are very standard, and despite the clear sound from ‘Pulse Of Terror' and the decently played songs (with solos whom are not bad at all, but no world class either) the conclusion about this one hour of playing time album is that Tormenter has done a good job, but for now they will not rise above the big mediocrity pool of thrash metal bands.

A last note goes out to singer Carlos Rodelos. He deserves a complement. I think that he knows very well that he isn't the greatest singer alive, and instead of screaming too much over the top he sometimes just speaks out the words. Because of this ‘Pulse of Terror' gets a bigger eighties thrash metal flavour and there is nothing wrong with that .

Rating: 74/100

Metal Land

On peut se lamenter ou bien se réjouir du revivalisme qui s'abat sur la scène Metal. Cause entendue pour les Californiens de TORMENTER, nouveaux venus dans un style qui l'est beaucoup moins et nonobstant une production peu convaincante (la batterie surdimensionnée !), leur premier full length, fait preuve d'indéniables qualités pour ceux à qui il est destiné, à savoir des moshers nostalgiques et invertébrés (et oui parce qu'à la longue, les cervicales...) ou de jeunes thrashers avides de renouveler (?) leur collection.

Le combo a la bonne (?) idée de débuter l'album sur la même sirène que celle ouvrant le premier opus de WARFARE. Back to 84 donc, et c'est vrai qu'à cette époque on ne redoutait pas les pochettes à l'esthétique approximative. L'axe du mal parcouru, suit celui emprunté par les légendes du thrash, la fraicheur et l'inspiration en moins. Malgré une première partie d'album en demi-teinte, il finit par nous avoir à l'usure, et à compter de "Season in the Plague" avec son riff plus vrai que nature, il se met à fonctionner au plein régime de sa mécanique passéiste, mais efficace.

Ce n'est sûrement pas sa vocation, mais pour ma part, je considère que cet album ne dit rien qui n'eut déjà été dit. Chacun verra donc midi à sa porte...

DOA/SOD magazine #3
One of the most effective and original releases of the THRASH IS BACK series, Pulse of Terror comes across as a mixture of old ASSASSIN and VIO-LENCE with tons of killer riffs, solos and excellent and aggressive vocal acrobatics. Lyrics are firmly based in the harsh realities of life and man's endless tendencies towards violence, hatred and cruelty as evidenced by tracks such as “Gallery of Reality”, “Pulse of Terror” and “Severe Enforcement. Fans of Bonded by Blood-era EXODUS will band their heads to bloody stumps over the frantic Thrash Metal carnage on display here. (DH)
10 SHATTERED SKULLS
Burning Ambulance

Tormenter ( sic ) is a thrash band from El Monte, CA. This is their debut for the indie EBM label, following 2008's self-released Assault From Beyond the Grave . (Two songs, “No Anesthesia” and “Assault from Beyond the Grave,” appear on both discs.)

The music is pure '80s mayhem; Tormenter can easily be slotted alongside Fueled by Fire , Bonded by Blood , Merciless Death , Hatchet , Havok , and many, many more. This is great for those who like the classic thrash/speed metal sound and don't mind that it's now being played by kids who weren't even born when Metallica ‘s Kill ‘Em All came out. Of course, because it's self-consciously retro—or classicist, if you like—the neo-thrash bands are frequently condemned as empty and pointless. It's easy to complain about any older musical style being reactivated by a younger generation, but the complaints are frequently fueled by the selective amnesia of people who went to ska shows in the late '80s, rockabilly and garage punk shows in the '90s, and have plenty of retro hard bop and neotraditionalist country ( Dwight Yoakam , anyone?) in their iPods. Hell, the complaints come from people who are very likely going to spend way too much money on tickets to see the “Big Four” ( Metallica , Megadeth , Anthrax and Slayer ) on tour this year. Now that's nostalgia.

The crucial question—the only question—is whether the music is well played. And Tormenter are a good band; Pulse of Terror is a good album. The weakest element of their sound is the vocals, but that's frequently the case with metal bands; the power and force attainable through amplification, pedals, and skillful mixing can't do much about a tuneless voice shouting breathlessly. And even at his worst, frontman Charlie Blitz isn't completely awful—he's got the same desperation Suicidal Tendencies ‘ Mike Muir displayed on “Institutionalized.” The music, though, is strong. The songs are fast, and the guitar solos, by Jahir Funes and Vince Mejia , rise out of the riff-storm like a machine starting up, slow at first and then faster until they're shrieking almost out of control, then they subside again. Each man has a unique style, too; one is nastier and more distorted than the other, sounding almost like an early '80s hardcore punk player, which gives their trade-offs a nice Judas Priest -ish feel. Bassist Richard Orellana doesn't get much to do—he's given the spotlight on an intro or two, but for the most part he fills in a narrow frequency band below the guitars, almost inaudible. He doesn't make himself obvious by incompetence, so that's something. Drummer Thomas Bonilla has a dry, thumping sound, as though his drumheads are made of leather. He plays fast, but stops and starts in a way that sometimes feels erratic and other times feels like he's deliberately trying to throw his bandmates off. The one thing I like most about his playing is that, while he hits the cymbals as often as any metal drummer (which is to say, much too often), they're almost entirely out of the mix. Whoever produced this record made several very good decisions, and that was one of the best.

There's very little that's original about Tormenter's music. They sound like the bands they admire: Metallica, Exodus , Slayer, Testament . But not everyone needs to be in constant pursuit of innovation. Styles develop because multiple artists or groups decide on a common language and then explore it, separately and together, refining it until it achieves its full potential. Thrash metal was perfected 25 years ago, but that's no reason to stop playing it, and it doesn't make modern-day practitioners soulless or somehow impure for keeping the music alive and putting their own spin on it. People still play the blues because it continues to speak to the human ear and heart. The same is true of thrash. The staccato, high-speed riffing, the jackhammer drums, the hoarse vocals, the fleet solos…these techniques have lost none of their power. The belief that one should cease to make art in a particular style because its moment of fashionability has passed is absurd; the endless pursuit of the New New Thing is as spirit-crushing a dead end as mindless, rote nostalgia. It's still possible to make a great thrash record, just as it's still possible to play the blues and say something new in the process. If you like thrash (old and new), listen to Tormenter. They're good at what they do.

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TORMENTER - Pulse of Terror