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Yet another band that one wonders whether to take seriously, Kansas City’s Torn the Fuck Apart this year releases their sophomore full length album, …The Dissection of Christ, following the themes of gore and anti-Christ that they have laid down with their previous release, Gods of Gore.
It is almost hard to tell the band’s style of music though with the intro of God’s Blood Turned Black, with a symphonic opening and a spoken sample that proclaims the band’s outright despise of religion. But with little warning, crushing riffs assault the ears of the listener, and one is immediately provided with an onslaught of at once brutal and technical death metal. The riffs of guitarists Nick and Michael are often complex and full of technical wankery, messing around with the listener’s head, and reek of influences from such bands as Suffocation and the likes. And while they aren’t engaged in some form of display of technical flair, the crushing, palm-muted chugging riffs provide all the entertainment and the grooves in the music, giving it some sort of catchiness amidst the insanity that goes on at the same time. The hyperactivity of the guitarists can be heard in the constant activity of the leads that are littered throughout the album, always playing at times quirky lead lines over the brutal rhythm guitars like on title track …The Dissection of Christ.
Bassist Deaffy also gets his time to shine throughout the album, often doubling the crazy riffs unleashed on the guitars, reminding one of bands like Defiled with his high presence in the mix of the album. The entire energy on the album is provided by drummer Jake who punishes his instrument relentlessly. The band also ensures that things don’t get too monotonous by the constant shifts in musical styles that are on the album, such as the sudden shift in the middle of Our Serpent Savior, and it is indeed rather surprising how easily the band manages to move in between rather drastically different styles. The weird-fuckery is most prominent on the instrumental track Purgatorium, where the band displays the unexpectedly melodic side, despite it lasting only a mere minute.
While the included sound samples that are on the album start off being pretty entertaining (such as the Louis CK one at the start of Father of Filth), these start to outstay their welcome pretty quickly, with the band ending up sounding as though they were trying too hard to include something funny yet blasphemous at the same time on every track, causing things to backfire instead. As the album progresses, these samples are even included in the middle of songs, further adding to the slight irritation. Other than that though, …The Dissection of Christ can be a rather entertaining album to listen to for the casual death metal fan.
One would never accuse this Kansas band of 'sugarcoating' anything, as they've chosen not only one of the most provocative names possible to write under, but also a pretty blatantly offensive album title and artwork sure to distance them from their neighbors. Not that this is anything novel in the realm of extreme metal. Torn the Fuck Apart just happens to walk the most direct, sacrilegious, unflinching path possible in expressing its unrest, and this translates very cleanly over to their musical output, which is unremittingly overwhelming in its violent impulse. Whether the band is laying into some meat-fisted groove or exploding into a more technically inclined bloodshower, about the only respite they'll grant you are the samples or the minute long instrumental "Purgatorium", which creates a bizarre contrast against the surrounding punishment.
This is no mere band of slam thugs: surely, they've got that side of the spectrum covered with a battery of palm-muted grooves, but these are often interspersed through fits of more technical, clinical guitar work. A perfect example of this is the title track, where the perplexing variety of riffs creates the impression of the listener's gruesome death being cut between two film clips: one of a rhinoceros trampling, the other a school of piranha stripping off the flesh and then thrashing about a red stream. A lot of the hyper riffs are influenced by groups like Suffocation, Deicide, Cryptopsy, and Cannibal Corpse, and a few of the grooves even feel similar to what the more brutal deathcore acts snuff out. While I can't say I was in love with many of the group's guitar progressions, some credit is due for how they manage to constantly send something different hurtling n your direction, making it almost impossible to sit complacent or become bored. I was especially into the frenetic streams of choppy mutes fashioned into very uncomfortable, skin tearing, and the reflexive and harried drum-work, but there's not really a particular category in which the band would be considered weak.
That said, I felt like the band might have oversampled a bit, since pretty much every track begins with a clip for somewhere, and I didn't feel it always necessary to break up the flow of fists and knees. While the loud sewer bass, drums and barked guttural vocals are all represented pretty well, I felt like the guitars were occasionally uneven in tone. For instance, it's great that the band incorporates some melody into the bridge of "Dead Religion" to offset the savage technicality, but it felt a little limp in execution. Also, while the band keep really busy throughout this album and flaunt some degree of versatility, overall the songs don't leave any impact other than the craters in my bones and cranium. Considering all of the weapons at their disposal, and they've got many (these guys can play), I think a little added focus would transfer into the memorability of the songwriting. Perhaps more ominous atmosphere created through some more evil sounding, less violent riff architecture would be a good match for the murderous lyrical blasphemy. In the end, though, while I didn't make a major connection to the music, there's not much of a limitation to their capabilities, and next time they roll the bones, watch out...
Every once in a while I will be contacted by a band that would like for us to review their material. Most of the time I will usually oblige them by either having myself or one of our other talented staff members write about the music. In this particular instance I was talking to fellow-staffer Ben Chipman and mentioned that the death metal band Torn The Fuck Apart had sent me their brand new album, “…The Dissection of Christ“. Ben lets me know that this is actually one of the local acts in Kansas City that he has seen a few times and was rather excited to hear some local flavor getting a little buzz around here. This was also in the same conversation where we discussed how awful this years Golden Gods Awards winners are. Those award recipients had greatly angered me, and I figured it was time to cleanse my palate by giving the Torn The Fuck Apart a spin to brighten my spirits.
For a death metal aficionado such as myself, it is absolutely imperative that the first track of an album comes out incredibly strong. I want the band to dig their meathooks into my flesh and make me beg for more auditory carnage. Unfortunately, “…The Dissection of Christ” does not do this. The opening track ‘God’s Blood Turns Black’ can only be described as Origin Lite that features a sample of the blowhard known as Bill Maher, but it lacks everything that the aforementioned group does right. ”Okay,” I thought to myself, “it’s only the first of ten songs. There is a lot of time left for this to get better, right?”
I can appreciate what Torn The Fuck Apart had set out to accomplish with “…The Dissection of Christ“, but I can also tell when there is a complete lack of identity in the music. Because of this identity crisis the Origin (particularly “Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas“) worship never ends. If you just listen to the beginning of ‘Father of Filth’ then you will only be able to think of ‘Amoeba’ from “Echoes Of Decimation“. Normally this would not annoy me as much as it has, but Torn The Fuck Apart are not able to showcase what Origin does so well. Even if they could, Origin already does it much better. Origin.
The rest of “…The Dissection of Christ” veers off into generic Krisiun-styled tech-death or groove-infused chugging with a smattering of breakdowns every once in a while. Now, I have already mentioned that Torn The Fuck Apart do not do technical song-writing very well, but they do it in a manner in which I loathe the second most (triggered drums are the first) in modern death metal. Musicians who read this article far and wide, please heed my advice: Repeated fretboard scaling is not the same as song-writing. End of story. What makes this even worse is when combined with the paper thin guitar tone. With each pluck of a high note, the right side of my face would contort and twitch, making me think (wish?) I was about to have a stroke.
I also got the feeling that the band was unaware of how to use bass drops since they would toss them with reckless abandon into any song they figured needed it, but none of them were necessary. Did I forget to mention the blatant abuse of samples from television shows, documentaries, and movies? I hope I didn’t, because if you are Will Rahmer (Mortician) then you will love them. While I was very happy that “…The Dissection of Christ” was almost over, there was just one more moment where I needed to violently slam my face onto my keyboard. It was just past the half-way mark of the final track, ‘Angels Decayed in Dust’, where I thought Cradle of Filth had somehow been vomited into the music with a synth keyboard tone that would make even The Crypt-Keeper roll over in his grave. I know that with this being the last song the band wants to go out on a high and epic note, but all it did was cause me to burst out laughing. This is not a way you want anybody to remember your albums ending.
After spending all this time pointing out the faults of “…The Dissection of Christ“, there were a few things Torn The Fuck Apart had done right. My favorite track had to be ‘Pergatorium’ because it was a nice melodic change to the endless drivel that was thrust upon me. It was only a minute long, but that minute was a saving grace to what could have just been me deleting the album and saying “whoops, my hard drive crashed.” They did the same type of melodic interludes in both ‘Dead Religion’ and ‘Our Serpent Savior’, and while those tracks are nothing stellar than what I had previously described, it was still nice to see them experiment a little bit.
The only other praise I can give to the band is the production of the drummer and bassist. Their instruments sounded good despite what was actually played by them and helped out the severely weakened guitar and one-dimensional vocals. I already talked about the guitar, but the vocals were a major factor in why I do not like this album. They were done in a fashion that would make Glen Benton of Deicide sound like he still has his vocal abilities from “Legion“. The majority of the vocal cadences were just single breaths per lyric, making them far too drawn out and resulting in one of the dullest death metal performances I can remember. Seriously, why are the vocals or guitar tone this bad? I’ve seen Bert and Ernie get heavier on Sesame Street.
I never like to be this antagonistic when it comes to reviewing albums, but I have to in this case so Torn The Fuck Apart realize what not to do in the future. ”…The Dissection of Christ” is the type of album that you would have your girlfriend listen to and get her thoughts on it, and because she loves you (or doesn’t want your full can of PBR smashed against her forehead), she would give you a warm smile and say that you guys will be “the next big thing to come out of Kansas City”. It’s just too bad she is giving you false hope when she knows as much about death metal as I do about crocheting. Really, you may just want to skip this one.
Originally written for Metal Blast: http://www.metalblast.net/2012/05/torn-the-fuck-apart-the-dissection-of-christ/