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Tormented - "Rotten Death" (CD)

Tormented - "Rotten Death" CD cover image

"Rotten Death" track listing:

1. Rotten Death
2. Vengeance from Beyond the Grave
3. Blood of the Undead
4. Burning Torment
5. Death Owns the Night
6. Come Back from the Dead
7. Drowning in Decaying Flesh
8. Tomb of Corpses
9. Reversed Funeral

Reviewed by on September 18, 2011

"Tormented comes from a good pedigree, which is why this mystifies me. This is average raw thrash, which needs more variety and better songwriting to stand a chance of superseding the heap."

Edge of Sanity was a great technical Swedish metal band that dissolved over a decade ago. A few years back, two of its members, vocalist Roberth Karlsson and guitarist Andreas Axelson, decided to put together a project that would be a departure from their previous band, which brings us to their new group Tormented.

"Rotten Death" is the album they have released as their current unit Tormented. When they said it would be different from their past material, they weren't kidding. Delving into the songs on this album, "Reversed Funeral" sounds like it's straight off of "At War With Satan," a nice wall of amplified noise and vocals that are sung - not growled. That fast flinging of leads is reminiscent of 80's-style combat thrash in its raw regalia. Tormented has opted for that thrashing death 'n' roll style that immediately brings to mind the sound of Left Hand Path, especially when the vocals go lower as the pace goes faster on "Burning Torment."

Usually a band starts out sounding raw and unpolished like this and gradually moves to more cerebral metal, but in the case of Tormented, it went the opposite way - coming from brilliance and now taking a step down. That leads me to why I found "Rotten Death" a bit problematic. It's not just that it misses the mark; although, if this was released a couple of decades ago, it might have been groundbreaking. It has to do with redundancy and mediocrity. You listen to a song like "Tomb of Corpses" and the next song is just like it, with fast loud thrashing and the same structure almost exactly. Some leads are thrown in during mid-sections almost as an afterthought in changing things up.

Plus, the choruses are highly repetitive as well. "Come Back From the Dead" reiterates its title over and over, to the verge of tedium. When listening to "Drowning in Decaying Flesh," you see another problem shared with many of the tunes - the exact same drum beat and four chords being labored on the fret. They do try some minor time changes on "Blood of the Undead," but they barely last. A couple of the tracks try having different-sounding intros, but quickly evolve into the same structure before you know it.

Tormented comes from a good pedigree, which is why this mystifies me. This is average raw thrash, which needs more variety and better songwriting to stand a chance of superseding the heap. "Rotten Death" is not the album of memorable tunes these veterans should have put out.

Highs: Some good moments of raw 80's thrashing

Lows: Very little variety between the songs

Bottom line: Not a very memorable release from these veteran musicians.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)