It’s been 3 years since we last heard from Tormenter, as they released their debut full-length, “Pulse of Terror”, in 2010. This time the band is back with an EP that will again continue to impress fans of thrash, and certainly the fans of anything released on their label, EBM Records. “Phantom Time” kicks off with the perfect opening interlude, which is highlighted by shredding guitars over top of a relatively tame backing track. The true thrashing begins with “Manifest Supremacy”, and it does an incredible job of catching your attention. Perhaps most surprising is that the best riffs are left until the middle of the song, where Tormenter unleashes hellacious brutal down-picked riffs that quickly double up in speed to become tremolo-picked.
For those unfamiliar with Tormenter, they’re a pretty standard thrash act. The guitar tone is among the stronger out there for newer thrash bands, and the vocals are primarily shouted. The singer definitely has the ability to go a bit harsher than a standard thrash yell (there is certainly some German influence in his vocals). Musically, the band rarely slows down, and if they do, it is to unchain a riff that is sure to cause some devastation. Surprisingly the solos can straddle the line between more technically accomplished bands, and the Kreator style of wailing. On “Parasital Exposure”, there is a guitar solo that is definitely more advanced in technique; however, it doesn’t sound like the guitarist is entirely in key the whole time, which definitely gives off that looser feel that Kreator and others have. The following track shows even more virtuosity, but once again has a few notes that may seem a bit astray. Another thrash standard, the gang vocal, does occur on this release, but it is not used as often as a crossover band would abuse it.
The only real surprise on the album is the cover of Metallica’s “Motorbreath”, which is only shocking because I’ve never seen another band cover it. There is nothing particularly unique about it, aside from the fact that the vocalist tries to destroy his voice as much as possible, likely to differentiate it from the original. It doesn’t reach the heights that Metallica did, but it’s still a great song, so it is a welcome finish to the EP. Overall, “Phantom Time” is a pretty impressive release for the sheer number of riffs delivered. It probably won’t blow you away unless you’re a huge thrash fan, but if you are, it is well worth hearing.
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4.2/5 or 84%.
Written by Scott