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Torment – Occult

by Gary Hernandez at 13 December 2020, 6:03 PM

There are about 10 active metal bands that go under the moniker of TORMENT. Five of them specialize in Death Metal. Of those five, the majority are based in Europe, but only one is from France. Nancy, France. This particular TORMENT formed in 2017 and released their debut album, “Occult,” on October 6, 2020 through Great Dane Records.

I don’t know a lot about this foursome, but they look way young and clean cut . . . except for that one dude with the full-on beard. He looks like he’s seen some shit. Their take on Death Metal is similarly crisp and sharp, though there is something of a Blackened Thrash element. Altogether it makes up an intriguing and fearsome assault. Thomas Frain’s single guitar assault is formidable, but it’s Simon Guerard’s work on bass that really fills the sonic space. I should also say that Emile Corvini’s contribution on drums is solid, and Felix Poncelin’s scathing, swarming vocals are impressive . . . but again the bass.

The album clocks out at forty-five minutes and comprises eleven tracks, though one is the sub two-minute atmospheric intro. The best track is also the longest — title-track and album closer, “Occult.” Rounding off my list of favorite tracks are “Deathwish,” “Human Parasite,” “Rituals,” “Swarm,” and “Locked Away.” Be warned, “Rituals” should come with a sub-woofer overload disclaimer. You might want to crack your windows to equalize the pressure before you get too far into the track.

One of the things I like about this album is the nuanced layering of acoustic and synth interludes which break up the otherwise relentless onslaught. The band also likes to dub up the vocals creating the uneasy feeling that Felix is a disembodied spirit floating around your now haunted headspace. I also like several of the lead solos, for example in “Last Winter,” which sound like they could have been lifted from a NWOBHM album (a good thing, btw).

As far as lyrics, I can’t be 100% sure, but my guess is these aren’t love songs, at least not in the traditional sense. Maybe love for brutal riffs and dark overlords, but not holding hands and long walks on the beach.

All in all, I do think the band, or at least the record label, could have made a better call on naming conventions. On the other hand, some enterprising PR agent could put together a whole metal festival made up solely of bands called TORMENT. Call it Tormentfest or Tormentia. Money to be made. Anyway, regardless of band names, this this is a solid debut album.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

  1. Intro
  2. Deathwish
  3. Human Parasite
  4. Last Winter
  5. Rituals
  6. Rebirth
  7. Psychotic
  8. Silent Scream
  9. Swarm
  10. Locked Away
  11. Occult
Simon Guerard – Bass
Emile Corvini – Drums
Thomas Frain – Guitars
Felix Poncelin – Vocal
Record Label: Great Dane Records


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