Tortured Demon – In Desperation’s Grip

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

Series 3 Episode 3 – Tortured Demon

In Episode 3 of this season we catch up with 0161 up an coming noisemakers Tortured Demon ahead of their album launch, we talk influences, fans not followers, record labels and tours and lots more!

We also have music from Tortured Demon – Cold Blood Nottingham Death Metal from Repulsive Vision – Selfless Young LA band, Diabology – Deicide Tortured Demon – A Knee to the Face of Corruption Our hairy mates in Thrasherwolf – Ruin Episode 1 guests Trapped In Purgatory – Out Of The Fire (Into the Pit) who’s new album “DAMNED NATION” is out today

Tortured Demon – Cold Blood (Single)

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.

Tortured Demon – Photography Copyright Drew Scott

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.

Pre – Order Now –

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.