Asa reviews the new album by Tortured Demon
Tortured Demon don’t need much introduction if you’ve been following us for a while, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. The Mancunian metallers formed in 2018, released a demo song and a single (The Invasion – Demo and Cold Blood) in 2020 and then another single at the beginning of 2021 (A Knee To The Face Of Corruption), all building up to this album. The band is made up of Jacob Parkinson (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Joe Parkinson (Drums) and Freddie Meaden (Bass/Backing Vocals) and are currently between the ages of 14-16. They’re one of the UK’s most promising young bands so it’s safe to say there is a decent amount of hype behind this album.
Clean guitars steeped in brooding darkness start things off, with piano and additional strings layered to hype you for the riffs to come. It’s a mood setter and an effective one at that. After a minute, the first riff slams you into the ground. ‘In Desperation’s Grip’ is a thrashing affair that blends new and old together seamlessly, with groove and harmonics adding flavour to this riff salad. The chorus is brutal and it’s easy to imagine a crowd chanting along to the lyrics. The middle section goes straight into old school Thrash territory with mid-paced fury and gang shouts that’ll ignite pits in every venue across the UK. One last flurry of intensity and we’re done. ‘Cold Blood’ is a song I’ve already reviewed but if the opening title track is Thrash monster with Core leanings, then this one is the exact opposite. It’s slower, more melodic, has clean vocals in the chorus and has some savage breakdowns. It speeds up during the middle section to ensure full on pit carnage but this one will get more people two-stepping than it will get them circle-pitting. It’s a great contrast to the first track and shows you to the two different styles they’re drawing from and how they’re planning on utilizing the strengths of both.
‘A Knee To the Face Of Corruption’ blends the two styles together more seamlessly, providing an intro riff that could easily be featured on an early Slipknot release, Death/Thrash riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a Trivium or Sepultura album and the Hardcore-infused stomp of the chorus will be pounded into your skull by the time the song ends. There’s a Metalcore breakdown thrown in that could demolish venues and some monstrous grooves to top off this savage behemoth. ‘The Invasion’ kicks you in the chest with Thrash riffs galore and some punishing blastbeats. The chorus is melodic and anthemic in scope, it’s sure to earworm it’s way into your brain. More disgustingly heavy breakdowns for the Core lovers out there and the first solo of the album has all the shreddy goodness you could ask for. The gang chants of “KILL!” will get the crowds going and obviously draw some comparisons to ‘Creeping Death’, although this time it’s followed up by some neck-snapping groove and soaring melodies. One final breakdown accompanied by more melodic leads allows for one final sucker punch.
Gigantic chords announce the arrival of ‘Sufferers Of The New Plague’, before we’re pummeled by the ferocious verse. The chorus brings some Death Metal flavour to the proceedings, with the middle chorus offering us some more monstrous grooves. The clean vocals make a return with some excellent melodic guitar work, before we’re greeted with another shredfest guitar solo. The ending breakdown, with all it’s Hardcore might, could level cities and leaves us in the dust. ‘Usurper’ brings the Nu-Metal, feeling like an outtake left on the cutting room floor for Machine Head’s ‘The Burning Red’. The verse will get people jumping and bodies slamming, whilst the chorus is destined for sing-along greatness. The bouncy groove of the middle section breakdown ensures two-stepping mayhem. Nu-Metal isn’t my cup of tea but these guys do it well and I can’t deny that it’s catchy fun to listen to, adding a nice change of pace to the album. ‘Cut The Budget… Cut Your Throat’ brings back the speed with furious aggression. The verse is made for circle pits and the chorus is chant worthy angst that goes for the throat (pun intended). There’s another solo during the middle section, keeping energy levels high. It’s a short, intense listen that is perfect for live shows.
‘Oppressed’ follows the same trend, going for pure speed and aggression. The thrashing brutality will give your neck a workout and leaves you feeling exhausted (in a good way). The chorus brings us punky attitude, with the mid-tempo middle providing melodic grooves. The song then does a complete 180 and erupts into a destructive breakdown, ending the song as we attempt to catch our breaths. The final track is entitled ‘My Terror’, and it begins with clean guitars steeped in brooding darkness, bringing the album full circle. It has a ‘Burn My Eyes’ era Machine Head vibe it before we’re thrown into the speed and visceral hatred of the verse. The chorus uses the clean vocals to haunting effect, contrasting with the vitriolic delivery of the harsh vocals. The middle section has another Hardcore infused breakdown before the calm refrain of melodic clean guitars engulfs you. The clean melody turns distorted, with huge power chords and melodic clean vocals adding to the somber affair. It’s a good way to end the album, which has often been a full-on assault of the senses and allows you time to reflect on the listening experience before you decide to push the replay button once more.
Tortured Demon have come out the gates swinging with all their might. Thrashcore is a hard thing to pull off but these guys do it well. They wear their influences on their sleeve and are not afraid of throwing in curveballs when they see fit. However, this isn’t just a tribute to the bands they love. They’ve managed to create a sound that feels very much their own within the Thrash and Metalcore scenes and it’s refreshing to hear something that is a little more unique and that isn’t afraid of taking a few risks. The song writing is solid, and all the songs serve their purpose. For seasoned Thrash fans this may not appeal so much to your tastes but with a few listens you may appreciate what these young lads from Oldham are trying to do. The performances are excellent across the board, with Joe’s drumming being a particular highlight. This guy may be one of the best drummers in the UK scene and he adds so much to the band, it’s a powerhouse performance. Jacob’s vocals may not be for everyone as you can tell they’re not quite as consistent or powerful as a more seasoned vocalist but they’re solid for the most part, with his lows being gut-wrenching stuff and his high screams, though sparse, are incredibly intense. You know that he’s just going to get stronger through the years and I’m excited to see where he takes his vocal prowess next. The cleans may also be off-putting for some but they add another layer to the band. They’re sometimes used melodically, and other times used to create an atmosphere, both of which are executed to a decent level. I’d like to see them utilize the higher ranges more in the future, but they’re still a welcome change here. The guitar and bass performances are tight, and the production is great stuff. There’s a real raw, gritty, DIY feel to it yet everything is well mixed. The different layers aren’t trying to fight each other but instead work in harmony to create a listening experience everyone can enjoy.
Overall, this is a solid debut from one of the UK’s most promising bands. There’s plenty of Thrashing intensity, but all the hallmarks of great Metalcore are thrown in for good measure. There are some risks taken throughout but they pay off and make for welcome changes in pace, while also showing off the writing chops these guys have. The only thing I’d really like to see in the future is taking the risks even further and for both vocalists to use more of their ranges because they have the chops to do so. And honestly, if that’s the main takeaway from this review then I think that speaks for itself. Tortured Demon may not be a band for the old school Thrashers, but they’re the band that show us that the future of Thrash, and Metalcore, is still very, very bright. The 0161 has produced yet another stellar band, and these guys are going to go far if they keep up this quality of work.
In Desperation’s Grip is released Friday the 5th February HERE or On Spiritual Beast in Asia