Tormenter – Pulse of Terror

Tormenter is an L.A. thrash band who happens to be EBM Records re-release label mates with Prophecy and Armor Column, two bands I reviewed last week. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with EBM, they are three for three with me so far; “Pulse of Terror” is another killer thrash album.

I said that Prophecy sounded influenced by Testament and Exodus, and while Tormenter does not sound like Prophecy, I would say they are influenced by those bands too. Everything about “Pulse of Terror” screams Bay Area thrash. This is one of the few “new” thrash albums to transport me back to the mindset I had in high school during the late 80s. For some reason, this takes me back to the night I camped out (needlessly) with two friends for Justice Tour Metallica tickets.

The sound is old school thrash and the production is a mix from both the past and current eras. Like the thrash from the 80s, the production is fairly mid-and- high frequency oriented giving the album a tight and crisp sound. The production gives a nod to current production standards by sounding much clearer and in your face; there’s also probably slightly more low-end than classic recordings would have had. This production is the best of both worlds.

Oh wow, track 6, “Messiah on Trial”, starts off with clean guitars that sound extremely reminiscent of “Gods of Wrath” off the debut Metal Church album. That is one of my all time favorite Metal Church songs, featuring the incredible vocal talents of the late David Wayne. The rest of the song is totally different, but that intro has made me want to dig into some Metal Church next. “Severe Enforcement” starts off with some rhythmic riffage that immediately brings to mind “Creeping Death” and “Assault from Beyond the Grave” manages to combine some “Legacy”-era Testament vocal elements with some rather “And Then There Were None” Exodus-style music. I love it.

Most thrash albums seem to clock in around 30-45 minutes, but “Pulse of Terror” is a staggering 60 minutes of metal music. They certainly give you your money’s worth.

I know some people are getting tired of the new thrash thing, but so far I still love it and cannot get enough. I feel Tormenter, despite their slightly misspelled name, are an excellent addition to the thrash gene pool. Since this was first released in 2010, I hope they are currently hard at work on a follow up album. Check them out on their Facebook, MySpace or Reverbnation pages.