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Despite Tortorum‘s country of origin being listed as Norway, the masterminds behind this project are hardly Norwegian, with bassist/vocalist Barghest hailing from UK and guitarist Skyggen hailing from Poland. Barghest’s other band, Spearhead‘s last release Themoachia was an impressive slab of black/death metal, easily making Speahead one of my favourite bands of recent times, and my liking of Skyggen’s Thunderbolt is clear, with Apocalyptic Doom being one of the best personal swansongs. The knowledge of these two people being the ones behind Tortorum instantly made this band one that I knew I had to listen to, and this year the band presents their debut full length album, Extinctionist under cult label World Terror Committee.
So I guess the heavy Norwegian influences that are present in Tortorum‘s music aren’t exactly that surprising, nor is the way that the album and songs are structured. The clean guitar that introduces the listener to Extinctionist are heavily reminiscent of the opening of Thunderbolt‘s Apocalyptic Doom, as are the guitar playing styles of Skyggen, with the Norwegian black metal-inspired riffing style. The influences from pioneering bands like Mayhem are clear, but these are definitely closer to his works on past Thunderbolt material. However, this isn’t to say that Tortorum is a complete Thunderbolt clone as Skyggen introduces a wider range of influences over here, at times littering the music with palm-muted riffs that lean more towards death metal territory, such as those on In Pestilence Majesty, where there is an almost (non-surprising) Polish black/death metal sound in his playing. Barghest further adds in the death metal element into the music with his gruff growls, though there are moments where he attempts a more black metal, higher-pitched shriek, resulting in a rather diverse sounding record.
The rather gritty production on Extinctionist also makes for a more abrasive-sounding record, as though the wrath unleashed by the duo behind the band weren’t violent enough, and the heavy presence of the bass makes the record all the more antisocial and unpleasant. Session drummer Erik (also of Norwegian band Sulphur) provides the battery on the record, not unlike other drummers known for their aggressive drum work like Behemoth/Azarath‘s Inferno and Thunderbolt/Infernal War‘s (and current live session drummer) Stormblast.
Whether one is looking for a new record to invoke some nostalgia of Thunderbolt material, or simply looking for good Norwegian black metal with a tinge of death metal aggression, Extinctionist will definitely not disappoint, and is an excellent debut album for Tortorum and a mark of more good things to come in the future.
Lets get away from all the melodic and the symphonic black and death metal releases and talk about a real underground black metal act that blows the Norwegian black metal scene with its debut album Extinctionist. The pure unholy label World Terror Committee that has always releases real underground black and death metal releases is now granting us the band Tortorum, so prepare your ears for some new grinding and crashing black metal record to shake the scene of this year.
The history repeats itself now in this record because the brutality of Marduk and the unholy riffs of Mayhem are already included in the spirit of Tortorum. no matter how much original is this record, the essence and the influences of the music cant sound different than the old Darkthrone and Gorgoroth. The artwork of the album contains a corpse-painted man who looks like a reaper, the black and white colors and the high contrast of the artwork are classic, they reminds me of the great classic black metal albums "Black Metal Ist Krieg" and "Transilvanian Hunger".
The music of Tortorum is combining very interesting and pure elements from the early second movement of black metal, the 90s underground black metal acts affect this release perfectly, even the production reminds me of that era. The unholy chords of the black riffing create a pure distortion sound that builds a huge wall of sound in front of the lead guitar that tries to reveal itself in this mess, the bass sounds buried beneath the wall of the rhythm guitar sound. The session drummer "Erik" did a pure work here, the blast-beating black metal efforts build a great base for the structure of the tracks.
Some pounding tracks like "Gloria in Extinction" and "Fucking worthless" are invoking the old days of the black metal era and mix them with the modern era of the underground black metal sound. The track "Aeonscourge" that begins its journey with some samples and a clean guitar section, is a great example of how to create a perfect black metal track that affects the ears of the listeners for years. Many tracks like "Grace Of Hatred " and "Kindling The World Conflagration" contain great vocal-lines, "Bargest" who did the vocals of this record has a real misanthropic throat, its full of anger and blasphemy and actually this is completely clear in the lyrical themes that the band try to invoke in this amazing record.
Overall, the pure black metal movement is still alive and many unholy black metal acts are presenting pure black metal records, so if you are interested in the pure and the original sound of the black metal riffs that contain raw and cold production, this album will satisfy your needs, but if you are searching for a girlish black metal record that intend to sound evil and dark, then go and kill yourself. This CD is waiting to be cursed, get your copy now and enjoy the real sound of underground black metal.
Originally written for:
Is it possible that a place holds any dark power that can influence behaviour of some of its inhabitants? This question comes spontaneously to mind when listening to Tortorum debut album, a band founded in 2010 in Bergen (Norway), a city which gave birth to countless black metal bands. These have indeed developed a very particular musical aesthetic, which rubbed off heavily on Extinctionist (2012). What is even more funny is that the only permanent members of the band are not even Norwegians (Skyggen is Polish, while Barghest is English). Our two fellows are still displaying a fair amount of experience, as they are also members of other groups, such as Spearhead, Dead To This World and Aeternus, but their first album is firmly rooted in Bergen’s common heritage.
This evidence jumps to the ears from Aeonscourge, opening track, which borrows its ambience from Taake’s musical universe. But Immortal remains unquestionably Tortorum’s main influence. Many songs, sequences of or even riffs are evoking Abbath and Demonaz career’s second half, particularly on Kindling the World Conflagration, that you would swear having it heard first on Sons of Northern Darkness (2002). Despite all references observed - audible only for a black metal maniac - the proposed outcome remains interesting. Titles like Fucking Worthless and Mother Infirmity, inspired by Gorgoroth’s first records, are dry, raw, and hit directly on target. Quality of the whole is undeniable, recording and mixing are both excellent, but anyone looking for some originality in substance may pass.
The rich Bergen black metal tradition inspired yet another band that released an album like so many others. I remain puzzled, however: do obscure metal artists who live and compose in this region can overcome its past history? Can they write music that was not inspired by their illustrious predecessors? Tortorum members should perhaps think on these issues, to eventually provide a more original product. 7/10
Originally written for metalobscur.com