Brazilian band TORTURE SQUAD has a history that goes back to the late 1980’s, and and have been releasing albums from the late 1990’s and onward. They are a fairly popular band in their home country I understand, and so far they have unleashed 8 studio albums on to the world, in addition to several EPs and a DVD. “Far Beyond Existence” is their 8th studio album, if I have counted correctly, and was originally released on Secret Service Records in 2017. In the spring of 2018 the album will also officially be available to the US market, courtesy of Brutal Records.
Torture Squad is among the many bands that have opted to blend thrash metal and extreme metal aesthetics into their sound. Very much in an old school manner, at least as I experience this band. This is a band that to my ears have taken a lot of what happened in the 1980’s with them and incorporated this into their core sound.
One of the main extreme metal aspects of their sound are the vocals. Hoarse, guttural growls is the name of the game here, and on this occasion we are given certifiable proof that gender isn’t an issue when employing this vocal style. While I personally am more fond of growl style vocals when it is easier to understand the words uttered than in this particular case, that is a personal taste more than anything, being something of an old git.
As far as the music itself goes, this band are masters of the tempo and style change, easily going from breakneck paced extreme metal flurries to thrash metal, groove-laden excursions. And they aren’t hard to ask to slow thing down to a doom-tinged crawl either. They have opted for a guitar sound of the big, mighty and dirty variety, one I like in general but that can come across as a tad murky on occasion, giving this album something of a lo-fi tinge that probably belies the quality of the mix and production. Personally I find the band to be generally more compelling when they slow down a bit, mainly because the drumming becomes a tad more expressive in those cases. Which, I guess, is strike two for this writer being an old git in the eyes of some.
As an overall experience I find this album to be a pleasant experience in general, although the moments of brilliance are few and a bit between for my personal taste. Blood Sacrifice is the key track as far as my taste in music is concerned, complete with a psychedelic, elongated calm intro that I find most charming indeed. The title track is another key selection of mine, and Cursed by Disease one more item I’d select as my personal album highlights. I’d estimate that those fond of old school blends of thrash metal and extreme metal would be the main target audience for this album, and then in particular those who treasure consistent growl style vocals and big, dirty guitar sound to be used within this context.
My rating: 66/100
Don’t Cross My Path // No Fate // Blood Sacrifice // Steady Hands // Hate // Hero For The Ages // Far Beyond Existence // Cursed By Disease // You Must Proclaim // Area 51