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Ceaseless Torment – Victory Of Death

Ceaseless Torment
Victory Of Death
by Santiago Puyol at 21 November 2022, 2:42 PM

Victory Of Death” came out on 30th September 2022 and it is Finnish Thrash Metallers CEASELESS TORMENT third full-length so far, the follow-up to 2017’s “Forces Of Evil”. A no-nonsense, raw, aggressive slash of pure Thrash, it delivers on its promise through these 9 tracks, rarely slowing down the pace.

It opens with “Final Sacrifice” a classic Thrash banger, with some nasty shredding and breakneck speed drumming, courtesy of Tommi Makkonen behind the kit. It works well as an opener even if it does not feel especially memorable. And without any warning, CEASELESS TORMENT shows us exactly the main issue with this album. “Final Sacrifice” is the blueprint for almost everything the band has to offer on this record, up to the point that they rarely do anything else.

Outside of a few stabs at noisy dissonance “Beyond The Boundaries Of Sanity” does not do much more than what “Final Sacrifice” offered, an issue repeated on “Killing Commands”, “Sons Of Sodom” or “Obsession Possession”. Even the lengthy closer, “Slaves Of Hell”, falls prey of this tendency to fit the stereotypical Thrash mould to the point it becomes a limitation.

The album stays mostly into the punkier end of Thrash, focusing on frantic drumming, angular riffing and shredding solos, most of the time evoking the more ordinary aspects of both ANTHRAX or SLAYER. Occasionally it digs into dissonance for ambience-building purposes or it shake things up with song structure, but these musical sketches become more of a colouring aspect rather than a core element of the songwriting.

This would not be such a frustrating thing if CEASELESS TORMENT had avoided these interesting and memorable ideas at all.  Being the second longest song coming at 5:11, “All Be Dead” allows a few different outlines to flourish, from its Hard Rock inspired intro to a somewhat meandering middle section in which Fredriksson and Lappalainen play around with texture, going beyond riffing and shredding, putting in some nice squeaky guitar bends.

Another example is the Death-inspired middle breakdown and outro from “Funeral Pyre”. For a moment, the band seems to realize they can actually break for a second or two from their pulverizing Thrash and try something different, playing with tempo. They do something similar, exploring a pretty unique song structure on the album with “Only Victory Or Death”, the most dynamic song on the record. If they had spent more time with songs like this and less with the “Final Sacrifice”s that abound on the record, it could have been better.

There are even some nice outros completely lost on unnecessarily repetitive songs, like the haunting vocalizations on the end of “Sons Of Sodom”, of the core-tingled, syncopated riffing on the end of “Obsession Possession”. Most of the tracks end up being so samey that the record feels like one long repeated idea and it becomes weary very quickly despite being less than 40 minutes long.

Victory Of Death” clearly has a commitment to that authentic, raw Thrash sound which might be noteworthy, but it does not make for a compelling experience. The issue here is less that the band is not doing anything innovative —not every band has to reinvent the wheel—, and more the fact that it ends up feeling generic and lacking a proper identity. The rhythms are well-known, the riffs do not vary much and do not feel precisely inspired, and the vocals are so middle of the road that they cannot provide a proper voice to the band. If anything else falters, at least your vocalist should be your own personal touch as a band.

The members of CEASELESS TORMENT are clearly capable and have more than enough instrumental skill to make the music they want to make. Even if the vocals do not manage to go beyond average, they still do a very apt job. I cannot blame them for their technique. Even if the production could be better, it is the songwriting and the memorability the main issue here. The glimpses of something better are probably a hint that better things might come around next time.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 2
Production: 4

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Final Sacrifice
2. Beyond The Boundaries Of Sanity
3. All Be Dead
4. Killing Commands
5. Funeral Pyre
6. Only Victory Or Death
7. Sons Of Sodom
8. Obsession Possession
9. Slaves Of Hell
Lineup:
Sebastian Fredriksson – Guitar & Vocals
Kim Lappalainen – Guitar
Mikko Karppelin – Bass
Tommi Makkonen – Drums
Record Label: WormHoleDeath Productions
     


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