Canberra’s Tortured are, for want of four better words, very fucking heavy indeed. On A Lesson in Holocaust, the band’s debut full lengther, the band constructs a forbidding, utterly crushing soundscape in which there is no room for half hearted core posing or scene theatrics. This is the real thing; played in a way so that no doubt is left in the ears of the listener – Tortured means business.
It’s a hellish listening experience. Drums pummel (Chris ‘Dutch’ Vandermark must surely have thighs like tree trunks given his happy proclivity for kicking the shit out of his bass pedals whenever he gets the chance), guitars alternately bludgeon and slash (though there’s definitely more of the former; twin axe men Marcus Honeyman and Mick Hinkley are both, it would seem, masterful rhythm players) and then there’s the unforgiving, stentorian bark of vocalist Brendan Ford, a man who appears to have had his voice box replaced by something that deals only in howling fury, the whole thing being propelled by bassist Chris Pratt, who’s brandishing of the four string motherfucker provides Tortured with it’s blackened, throbbing heart.
So what does all this noise actually sound like, song wise? Well, if you need some form of encapsulation as to what Tortured does best, let me point you in the direction of Desecration of the Altar: A rolling, grinding feast of aghgression (can you see what I did there?), the track literally gives no quarter over the whole of its six and a half minute duration. Precise, violent, remorseless but still a pleasure to listen to, it’s the distillation of this band in a single track. Elsewhere the likes of Corpse Eater and the utterly coruscating Necro Autopsy deserve to be on the playlists of discerning metalheads everywhere, but to pick out these as highlights would infer that I think they’re better than the other tracks on offer – they ain’t, cos this is a very strong album indeed, and one which I think you should take steps now to add to your collections.
A Lesson in Holocaust is out now on Grindhead Records