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Review: Tormented - Combustible

Label: Powermad Music
Year released: 2004
Duration: 56:55
Tracks: 13
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: September 8, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating


A thrash band from New Brunswick. OK, that's new. No it's not. Actually Tormented formed back in 1989. Thankfully nowadays there's a bunch of metalheads over in the maritime provinces of Canada that are spreading the word about the metal bands from that reputedly quiet part of the country. Alright, so Tormented split up in the mid 90's and reunited for a show a few months ago, and this is a reissue of some of their material, plus five tracks from the band "Dead Reach" which comprises two members of Tormented, including mainman Larry LeBlanc.

The Tormented tracks here are not the original recordings, but re-recordings done by LeBlanc in later years. This is some kick ass old school speed/thrash situated somewhere between say MoP-era Metallica and very early Kreator - not as polished as Metallica, but not as brutal and aggressive as Kreator. I can't say the band really reminds me of any specific band musically, however, although some of the vocals that are a bit Slayer-esque at times. The vocals are sometimes a bit hit and miss but nevertheless come out sounding at least "OK" most of the time. The production could be better, sometimes the sound feels a bit stale and you can feel that some songs just want to "get out there" but are kind of stuck in a little bubble (yeah that's a weird comment - let's move on - lol.) Still quite an adequate production for an independent release, however. My favourite tracks in the Tormented part of the CD are the excellent "Arsenal of Democracy" and "Psycho Circus Clown", coincidentally these are the only two that had previously been released on the band's demo. It's worth getting the album for these two songs alone. Overall Tormented offers and excellent blend of speed and thrash, with a noticeable heavy metal influence kicking in here and there. This is some damn good music, there's no other way to put it.

The last five tracks, as mentioned earlier, are tracks from the band "Dead Reach". One would expect these to completely break the mood after eight tracks by another band, but such is not the case - the styles is slightly different but close enough that things just flow nicely until the end. If anything I'd call this a slightly cleaner version of Tormented, but barely. My favourite songs among the five are "Fallen Nation", very catchy but also dark and aggressive with the vocals and the music perfectly matched, as well as "State Control", this one a bit more tame but just as excellently done.

This is one of those albums that I didn't pay for but would consider an excellent purchase if I had. :) Did I say highly recommended? Well now I just did.

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