[25th January 2013]
01. Black Shrouds Of Dementia
02. Murder for The Masses
03. Slaves To The Atom<
04. The Outer Limits
06. The Strain
07. The Coming Doom
08. Towards The Within
09. Suffer As One
10. At The End The Dead Await
Swedish death metal was one of the first forms of vile death metal ever to decompose in front of the masses in the late ’80s – as well as during the early ’90s – so it comes as no surprise that it is also one of the most oft-replicated in the extreme metal world. With great bands like Entombed, Dismember, Grave, and Unleashed to live up to, Overtorture don’t make it easy for themselves – unless of course they are able to put their stamp on this music and break loose from quite a few fellow imitators.
Swedish death metal is serious business, so the horrifically cheesy album artwork – which at times may have its charm - is something of a detriment to a band trying to take a step forward. Their debut At The End The Dead Await is unmistakably Swedish in its sound. It leans heavily on riffs, as is the norm with this brand of Scandinavian metal, but it sounds like it takes a few nods from modern metal as well so classifying it strictly as Swedish – other than for the nationality of the band’s members – would be foolhardy at the very least; the much cleaner production job sounds much more 2013 than it does 1991.
One major component is missing from the obvious love of the Stockholm (not Gothenberg) scene and that would be the Sunlight Sound and the effective use of the HM-2 guitar pedal. The absolutely abrasive and unique linchpin for Entombed’s Left Hand Path has never left my mind and if bands claim to be paying homage to the masters then this needs to be done; instead what we get is a very organic sounding guitar that is clearly of the modern metallic school of thought.
The album tends to get better as it goes on and particularly on “Towards The Within” where the band fully embraces their own sound and even throws a few great guitar solos your way. The vocals are as gruff as they are intended to be – and they do a good job of conveying the death metal aesthetic, which really helps the band round out a particularly great song. After this we are met with “Suffer As One”, another song that is on the speedier side of things, yet with a bit of a slowed down charm that draws comparisons to later work by Dismember and in particular the Massive Killing Capacity album.
When all is said and done Overtorture have certainly done a serviceable enough job with their debut to garner my interest for another album in the future, what needs to improve though is the band’s sound and identity as they need not get swallowed up in the sea of sameness that is the revival of retro metal subgenres. A good but not great album that is lacking that x-factor, if you are looking for a more recent example of Swe-death look no further than Grave’s Endless Procession Of Souls or Bastard Priest‘s Ghouls Of The Endless Night.