Reviewer Asa takes an in depth look at Oldham based Tortured Demon and their new single.
Tortured Demon have been making quite the name for themselves over the past 2 years. Formed in late 2018, this triple threat attack has been going from strength to strength, emerging as one of the bands to watch in the UK scene. Bagging a slot at Badgerfest 2021 and TWO support slots for the upcoming Xentrix tour (London and Manchester dates respectively), they’re one of the few young bands waving the banner for the bright future of UK Thrash. The line-up consists of Jacob Parkinson on Lead Vocals and Guitar, Freddie Meaden on Clean Vocals and Bass duties, with Joe Parkinson filling out the backline with Backing Vocals and Drums. They describe themselves as Thrashcore, being influenced by acts such as Trivium, Machine Head, Slipknot, Anthrax and Sepultura. The band have a full-length album scheduled for release on February 5th 2021, with Cold Blood being the lead single taken from that release.
The song begins with picked distorted chords that instantly brings their more Metalcore influences to the forefront. Guitar chords, bass and drums explode from behind, building a sense of tension and aggression. The chords turn to chugs, with the bass and drums following the same pattern as the distorted lead continues over the top. It reminds me of how ‘Your Betrayal’ by Bullet For My Valentine builds, and I kind of like the nostalgic throwback it gives me. However, unlike that song, this one shifts up into overdrive, exploding into a full on mid-paced frenzy of crushing riffage. This verse riff feels like the perfect mix between Thrash and Metalcore, having the same feel as Thrash but broken down and restructured in a way that also wouldn’t feel out of place on an Unearth record (who, for this reviewers money, are still the best Metalcore band). It definitely helps the band live up to the Thrashcore moniker.
It’s here that we also get a taste of Jacob’s vocals. I find them to be not to dissimilar to what Matt Heafy of Trivium does, having it be somewhere between a harsh scream and a more Thrash shout approach. There’s a clarity to his vocals that makes it easy to understand what is being said yet never loses the aggression. For someone so young (this guy is only 15 after all), I applaud how consistent the performance he gives is, never relenting for even a second. The song transitions into a more Metalcore breakdown riff that is used to build up to the chorus. The vocals on this part switch between distorted spoken word segments and Jacob’s more standard harsher vocals. The contrast in vocals shows that the band isn’t satisfied doing one thing for 4 minutes.
Speaking of contrasting vocals, the chorus is when Freddie gets to show us his vocal talent, providing clean vocals over a darkly melodic chorus. The cleans here aren’t your standard high pitched, whiny affair that many now associate with Metalcore, but instead are in a lower register, adding to the darkness of the chorus but also maintaining its sense of melody. The chorus is catchy and is something that will end up getting stuck in your head the more you hear it. After the chorus it’s back to the verse again, reprising that
crushing mid paced riff, followed by the sonic assault of the build up and the catchy chorus. The song breaks down a little to showcase a new riff that adds a slightly more progressive edge to the band. It picks back up again, with the drums adding a double bass rhythm underneath giving a more Thrash vibe to the riff. Jacob continues to snarl his way over the top like a man possessed before we enter a quiet, melodic refrain as clean guitars make way for a melodic attack that would fit into any mid 2000’s Metalcore album.
Jacob showcases a little more vocal ability, opting for lower vocals during this section. The switch up is welcome, contrasting with the previous heavier section but maintain the angst felt throughout. We go back to the chorus once more (just in case it wasn’t stuck in your head by this point) before the song climaxes with the pre chorus breakdown riff, adding a destructive final blow.
Tortured Demon have proven why they’re so hotly sought after with this song. It’s not an out and out Thrash ripper, but instead blends modern Metal influences with old school Thrash sensibilities to add something that feels refreshing to the UK Thrash scene. It still thrashes hard in places, but those moments are then contrasted with deadly breakdowns, anthemic choruses and melodic refrains. All performances are spot on and inspired. The playing is tight, and everyone has moments to shine. Jacob’s vocals are ferocious but have clarity and the guitar playing is top notch stuff with memorable riffs and beautifully written leads.
Freddie’s cleans contrast well with Jacob’s harsher vocals and are well accomplished, adding another layer of depth to the group, with thunderous bass providing meat to already devastating guitars. And Joe’s drumming is the backbone of the band, changing between tempo’s to explosive results and providing some impressive footwork. Couple that with some tastefully executed fills and you have a solid, reliable foundation to build from, something every band needs in a drummer.
The songwriting is brilliant, switching between each section almost flawlessly. Nothing feels out of place and all the different influences are showcased throughout the different sections, sometimes meeting in the middle between Thrash and Core but never feeling like the band are one or the other. One last thing I want to mention is the production. It’s not super polished. There’s a raw, gritty edge to it all that I feel really captures the band in their element. You can hear every layer of the song perfectly as the mix is crystal clear and the tones are excellent, but they still maintain a rawness that adds to the aggression and almost feels like how they would sound live.
I’m thoroughly impressed with the guys and Kesbri Studios for the production and incredible performances. To conclude this review, Tortured Demon are worth your time. By any standard, this band are doing some great things but then you realise how young these guys are (between 14-16) and it really is staggering. They have a knack for strong compositions that ebb and flow between being heavy, catchy, melodic and angry, sometimes all at once.
The performances sound like those of a more seasoned band
and if this is only the beginning then I’m excited to see what they have in store for us in the future. They may not be pure Thrash but I think there’s something for everyone to enjoy here and, at the very least, I believe we can all appreciate how insanely talented they are. They have a lot more room to grow too, so there’s no limit on just how huge this behemoth can become. I’m looking forward to their full length, In Desperation’s Grip (out 5th February 2021), with Cold Blood being the perfect song to release to hype everyone else up.
Give it a spin when it’s out because I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Cold Blood is out on 27th November 2020.