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Torture Rack - Barbaric Persecution

Torture Rack
Barbaric Persecution
by Kyle Harding at 07 October 2016, 12:29 PM

Coming at you from the strange lands of Portland, Oregon is a band that uniquely describes themselves as “Medieval Mutilation Death Metal”, a term I can confidently say I’ve never heard before. The aptly-named band, TORTURE RACK, have just released their very first effort since their formation in 2012, and a full-length album at that. “Barbaric Persecution” is loaded with some aggressive riffs, blast beats, and guttural growls to satisfy any headbanger’s deathly desires, though maybe a bit rough (and not in the best of ways). But before we delve into “Barbaric Persecution”, let’s meet the band. After all, we should get acquainted with the new blood!

TORTURE RACK is a 4-piece group formed by units of the Portland underground such as WITCH VOMIT, BLOOD FREAK, and CEMETERY LUST. Some of the members are still active in said groups, yet have come together to follow their passion and pool their talents into pumping out this bloody death fest. The band is fronted by bassist and vocalist, Jason, who belts out some deep gutturals all throughout “Barbaric Persecution” while setting the foundation for the guitars with some cavernous bass licks. The string-work by Pierce and Tony is down-tuned low and adequately groovy. Lower guitars tend to stick more with rhythmic riffs rather than technical leads, which in this case, works in the favor of TORTURE RACK. Following on the kit is Seth, who is tastefully accurate with his fills and blasts.

The album overall is a decent first record, but not terribly smooth in the way of production. At times, the vocals, especially for gutturals, are pushed way too far forward and can drown out the guitars in certain places. Even the drums can be a bit murky in the mix. Though this isn’t critical for drummers who play wide and with lots of splashes, but with Seth’s play style, being impeccably-timed, shouldn’t be hidden. That isn’t to say Jason has a lot of potential as a vocalist, especially when he makes use of higher wails and roars, where he should more shift his focus. Versatility and distinction in vocalization can be a Death Metal growler’s best friend.

I thoroughly enjoy the sound that the band is trying to master. TORTURE RACK has got elements of more brutal bands like SUFFOCATION and the almighty CANNIBAL CORPSE (mainly old-school), yet the guitars sometimes play a bit more melodically in the way of bands like AMON AMARTH and CARCASS. The album moves back and forth between those sub-styles very smoothly, impressive for a band just getting on their feet and finding their legs. So far, they’re at a great start, but now they have to find a way to move forward and refine their sound.

Barbaric Persecution” opens with a droning intro that, while can be an effective way to begin, could have been executed better. Some of the squelchy sounds and screams can sound a bit out of place, not to mention that the band faded out rather than leading into the next song, which can defeat the purpose of the intro (especially when the track is a mere minute and 20 seconds). However, the drone before the ripping “Talent For Torture” is a good idea, hitting the audience harder with something a little unexpected, but satisfying. My favorite tunes on the album are “Chamber of Morbidity” “Entrail Intruder” and “Sentenced to Gang Rape”, which carry on with some original riffs and heavy beats that really pick up the spirit of Death Metal, in raw power and refined musicality. These are examples of what the band should be gearing the rest of their music toward when they go into the future.

“Barbaric Persecution” is an enjoyable first effort by these 4 musicians from Portland. Where they are now, they should focus on refining an individual sound and hitting that sweet spot they’ve discovered between Melodic and Brutal Death Metal. That’s how a Death Metal band stands out in an underground world that thrives on such a widely imitated sound. But the question is, can they accomplish this? They’re on the right track. I have faith in TORTURE RACK, and am anticipating the growth of this band after this freshman release. My message to them: work hard, bang your heads, and stay metal, my dudes!

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Talent For Torture
3. Apocalyptic Wrath of the Undead
4. Chamber of Morbidity
5. Entrail Intruder
6. Open Casket Funeral Puker
7. Field of Mutilation
8. Coffin Breath
9. Sentenced to Gang Rape
10. Coven Crusher
11. Beheaded for the Bloodbath
Jason - Vocals, Bass
Pierce - Guitars
Tony - Guitars
Seth - Drums
Record Label: Memento Mori


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Edited 07 February 2023

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