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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