Severe Torture // Slaughtered
Rating: 3.0/5.0 —Severe torture, unless you like it ugly and brutal.
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: severetorture.com | myspace.com/severetorture
Release Dates: EU: 28.06.2010 | US: 06.29.2010
I have to admit right up front that I wasn’t overly familiar with Severe Torture and their cadaver of work prior to getting tasked with this review. I had heard bits and pieces of previous albums but nothing about them ever really grabbed my attention or made me feel the need to track down their material. So as I got familiar with Slaughtered, this Dutch death metal band’s fifth platter (or should I say splatter), I was pretty shocked by the quality of the material on display. Maybe I simply missed the boat on their earlier stuff but this is a solid enough release that I plan to go back to investigate much more carefully in the near future.
Severe Torture play straight forward and brutal, old school death metal very much like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation. This is not the melo-death that is so trendy these day and In Flames/Soilwork fan boys will most likely flee the brutal bludgeon unleashed herein. The vocals of Dennis Scheurs are deep, guttural and utterly, completely unintelligible, very much in line with the Chris Barnes style of gurgling. Backing him up are furious blast beats and lightning fast riffage. These guys don’t try to overwhelm with technicality or amaze with tempo changes (although some interesting changes do pop up at times). All the songs are short, ranging between three and five minutes and basically follow the death metal blueprint without trying anything new or innovative. However, they do what they do well and this is solid death metal from start to finish.
The standout element here is the guitar work of Marvin Vriesde and Thijis van Laarhoven. Throughout Slaughtered they supply a steady barrage of brutal yet interesting riffs and provide ample energy across the ten tracks. In addition, they inject just enough groove into the music to make it flow well and hold together despite the unhinged vocals and blasting drums. Also commendable are the surprisingly melodic leads that sprout up across Slaughtered and stand in stark contrast to the violence of the music around them. Lead track “Grave Condition” is the perfect example, with thrashing ugliness suddenly offset by trilling and almost beautiful lead work. These leads are pretty much the polar opposite of the more common King/Hanneman whammy bar abuse many death metal bands employ. Also worth note is the interesting near trance/drone that develops during “Feeding on Cadavers.” Other standout moments include the slow grind during “Incarnation of Impurity” and the minimalist but effective soloing during “Deride Jesus.”
Probably the only weakness present on Slaughtered is the one dimensional vocal work of Mr. Scheurs. While undeniably well suited to the brutal quality of the music, there is no variation whatsoever in his delivery from track to track, just textbook “herrrr, grrrrr, merrrr, furrrrr” grunting. It gets to be a bit too monotonous after a while and I for one would have liked some “blaaaahh raaaaa yaaaa” mixed in for a change of pace here and there.
Severe Torture have made a pretty solid statement with Slaughtered and delivered a heavy as fuck slab of brutal death that stays fairly interesting from track to track and keeps the attention focused on the ass whipping being dealt out. If the brutality of Deicide and Suffocation gets your blood moving, then this album is for you. It ain’t reinventing the death metal wheel but hey, not every album needs to. While you won’t hear something new here, you will hear something pretty good.