It’s hard to express my immense satisfaction upon pushing play on Morbosidad’s Tortura. Unlike what I’ve come to expect from Nuclear War Now!’s brand of bestial blackened death – that is, guitars distorted to shit and vocals that sound like someone’s fatfuck cousin chugged Drano and attempted to burp the alphabet in the background – Tortura opens with a set of ragged, filthy chords that resound with power and clarity. It makes sense at first glance: having been around since 1993, one would assume they’ve had enough time to hone their sound.
In actuality though, vocalist Tomas Stench is the sole member left from that time, and they’ve had a insanely tragic history with drummers to boot (the first died in a rehearsal room explosion, the second fell from a third-story building – Godspeed and good luck to newcomer Matt Mayhem). Tortura is Morbosidad’s first EP of new material since 2012’s Muerte de Cristo en Golgota, an album that, unfortunately, slid a bit too deeply into the ‘static-over-substance’ mud hole favored by bands like Black Witchery. Luckily, Tortura avoids that quagmire.
After the foul opening chords make you want to take a warm bath, “Entre La Muerte y Desolacion” tears in with a series of spunky machine-gun riffs, the guitarists bashing their strings like they’re made of diecast steel. Compositionally it’s generic as hell, but at least everyone sounds furious. Matt Mayhem hammers the snare like he’s got seconds left to live, while Mr. Stench barks his Spanish lyrics in the gruff snarl expected of this style, his echoing vocals giving things a sickening occult feel.
The mood continues with the sweetly evil verses of “En Las Gallas Del Infierno,” which locks into an excellent groove in a late-song thrash break (seriously, if this doesn’t have you banging your head, check your pulse). Highlights continue with closer “Batalla De Pecados,” featuring an opening riff that sounds like something James Hetfield would write if he was forced to butt-chug whiskey in a Mexican prison for a week. Along with “Tortura,” this track smartly decides to slow things down with sluggish, doomy progressions, even granting us a guest appearance from Autopsy’s Chris Reifert in the finale. The diversity stuffed into these four tracks, along with the pigblood-soaked guitar tone and potent production, are almost enough to make up for the accelerated yet bland Blasphemy riffs that creep in occasionally. Though it’s enjoyable throughout its 14-minute runtime, any longer and I probably would have started drinking my own urine just to wash away the stale taste.
Overall, Tortura is a decent little EP – not essential, but totally fun for what it is. For fans of Blasphemophagher or other gasmask-adorned blackened death groups, there are much worse ways to spend a quarter-hour. Grab a Modelo and enjoy.