Torturerama – It Begins At Birth EP

Death metal is probably the easiest genre to call.  When you see a band name, you usually know where they’re going with it and what to expect out of the quality.  You’ve probably heard it all, all the references to body parts, bodily fluids, ad nauseum, but not in the way they’re thinking.  And the artwork, my oh my that artwork.  Viscera, blood, horrid things, sexual things, creatures, zombies, it’s amazing the same images are utilized so continuously and yet no one seems to care.  Thus, when we receive something of the death metal variety, we usually go in with low expectations, especially if the presentation is close to any of that.  “Ah, yes”, we say, “one of these.”  Looking at this submission from a band with easily one of the more ridiculous names we’ve ever seen, box one is checked off.  Nonsensical titles that have to with everything from necromancy to the ripping of flesh?  Box two, check.  Awful music with cardboard drums, recycled riffs, and singing in the style of the le brutale?  Box three, no check can be given.  First appearances are where we as human beings go wrong.  It’s better to take it as it appears and push away that inclination to retch before you give it a listen, and aside from that band name, Torturerama are practically a Renaissance in death metal.


Oh, and we even forgot the art.  Some fetus thing, crudely drawn clutching at nothing like some sort early sketch of the meek tweak baby that never went any further.  But, hey, at least their logo is legible, if anything you should take that as a sign that the music is actually worth your time.  It Begins At Birth is going to surprise most of you, it’s surprising in its simplicity and classic energy, yet newness.  Torturerama have everything where it needs to be; the guitars and bass have a crude yet clear early-Carcass sound, the drums thump until your heart skips a step like old Pungent Stench, and the vocals are like a more-refined Mindloss-era Gorefest.  Suffice to say, there’s a lot of classic in here; these boys from Belgium are going for old school death metal, just without the wrinkles.  That in itself, however, is usually never enough to get our attention, at best reserving itself to accept a 3 out of 5, which is our “good job, buddy, everyone’s a winner” award around here.  So where does this one go so right?


Torturerama take all that classic, all those influences, and they update, structuring them with modern sensibilities and updated style more fitting to this era of post-whatever.  Combining what’s come before with what’s going on now is a refreshing jolt to our death-metal-crippled brains, it’s like losing your ability to walk after a stroke and having it all come back after another one.  It Begins At Birth is the second stroke.  Some of these riffs, just absolutely sickening.  Scope track two, “Territorial Darkness”, for some vein-ripping action.  But the final track, “Flesh Ripping Sounds”, is an even better example of everything we’ve discussed.  For a quick look skip to around 1:02 to get a taste.  It’s that sound that reminds you of a morgue, the scent of embalming fluid on the floor, the stench of ashes in the crematorium, and the flickering lights that haven’t been replaced in decades, reflecting off of mildewed tiles.  The only real complaint is that, at times, Torturerama is a bit too revealing in their influences.  Some of their material is so Carcass-esque you could almost confuse it as something from Symphonies of Sickness, but thankfully these moments are few, and brief, and It Begins At Birth is quickly back on track to defining itself as-is.  We believe in death metal again, don’t let us down in the future.


Torturerama Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Torturerama – It Begins At Birth EP
Dolorem Records
4.5 / 5