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Reviews
Severe Torture - Sworn Vengeance
Friday, February 01 2008 @ 01:00 AM PST
Contributed by: Sokaris

Sworn Vengeance

Artist: Severe Torture Netherlands

Title: Sworn Vengeance

Label: Earache Records United Kingdom

Genre: Death Metal

01 Dismal Perception
02 Serenity Torn Asunder
03 Fight Something
04 Repeat Offender
05 Countless Villains
06 Dogmasomatic Nausea
07 Redefined Identity
08 Buried Hatchet
09 Sworn Vengeance
10 Submerged in Grief

As death metal gets diced up into further sub-categories (technical death metal, brutal death metal, atmospheric death metal, deathcore, death/grind, etc) bands like Severe Torture are becoming more and more difficult to find. The band’s fourth full length “Sworn Vengeance” displays death metal at its core without being a retro act in any sense. This is modern death metal. Death metal that can be technical, brutal or groove-laden without forcing the riffs in a particular direction. Severe Torture chucks out headbanger after headbanger on this 10 track affair (12 if you get the limited edition with two bonus covers) never coming off as dull or pedantic. The guitars roar, deep but clear. The drums balance clarity and power and overall the production suits their sound well. Everything sounds big and fucking heavy without drowning out the individual performances. You can still hear the basswork but it doesn’t stand completely separate from the guitars. The snare never becomes overbearing during blasting but there’s plenty of snap to it. No “popcorn” kick drums (to borrow a phrase from the legendary John McEntee) but each hit is distinct. The instrumental performances are each spectacular. The band shows their individual skills within the context of headbang-inducing death metal. The songwriting is what’s most impressive though. The songs are carefully structured to emphasize different elements dependant on the individual passages contained. The band never loses focus of writing good songs with great dynamics.

Severe Torture takes lessons from the greats American, Swedish and beyond and then injects a ton of attitude and their own style. You’ll hear bits of Morbid Angel, Entombed, Obituary (and boy does their vocalist resemble a mix of John Tardy and Corpsegrinder when he does his upper register screams), Grave and many others. This is also a band that knows how to take the Suffocation influence and not misuse it. Whereas a legion of bands abuse the death metal breakdown to the point where it becomes an insipid maneuver (I’m looking at you, Dying Fetus) Severe Torture know how to play mid-paced asskickers without forgetting to play good riffs above all. This is death metal played not only with passion but with intelligence. Death metal that knows what brought together a bunch of sweaty long-haired kids from Florida twenty years ago. A spark, a genuine creative desire that manifested something very unlikely into the music world. This spark was there with all the greats who built the foundation and its with scattered acts from around the world today that make up the upper tier of modern death metal.

The fact that band has made it all the way onto Earache with their uncompromising take on the genre is a testament to their decade of hard work. “Sworn Vengeance” is the culmination of this hard work. They could very well be a band that opens up the Netherlands death metal scene to the rest of the world. Between the eccentric deathmongers in The Monolith Deathcult and Nox, the refreshing take on melodic death metal that Detonation (a band that could very well give Gothenburg godfathers Dark Tranquillity a run for their money) presents and the gorier sounds of Prostitute Disfigurement, Severe Torture is in good company. In a perfect world Earache would finance a tour to have Severe Torture and their aforementioned countrymen playing every corner of the world underneath one of the remaining titans in death metal, bringing out everyone to see what I’m sure is an absolute assault when performed live.

No overly colorful analogies or reviewer catch-phrases from me to end this. If you like death metal, give the new Severe Torture a shot; it really is as simple as that.

     



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