TORMENTER – Phantom Time EP
Plugging away since 2007 with a series of demo, EP and full length releases, El Monte, California thrash quintet Tormenter return with a new 6 song EP. "Phantom Time" consists of 5 originals plus a bonus track of "Motorbreath" from Metallica’s "Kill ‘Em All" given the Tormenter treatment. The opener "The Continuance" is a 2:13 instrumental set up with keyboards and twin guitars setting up the scenario for the heads down, Teutonic-oriented riffs and impact that you get with "Manifest Supremacy". Charlie Blitz emulates the best of early Exodus and Sodom in terms of his spit-fire lyric outbursts.
What I enjoy most about Tormenter is their no-holds-barred way of attacking in terms of the riff build ups and rhythm section. You’ll get killer tom rolls that feed into the heads down snare/ double bass hits for "Command Control" where the gang vocals kill and the guitar team of Jahir Funes and Rodrigo ‘Willis’ Rodriguez navigate swiftly up and down their axes with adrenaline, aggression, and viciousness in the best underground thrash mentality. Destruction, Kreator, and Sodom all factor heavily into Tormenter’s sound- but you do hear a little bit of the early Bay Area influence, especially on my favorite track "Re-Encryption" that just punishes right from the start on a synchronized speed standpoint and even the crazy fill work makes sense to delight.
Do not expect pristine production values- "Phantom Time" is more of a raw affair, as if you were experiencing the band in a live environment- but that’s what I want more of from metal bands. We can debate ‘til the cows come home whether we are in a new saturation point for the thrash genre, but with bands like Tormenter still performing with all of the zest and zeal that brought the movement to the forefront 3 decades ago, it doesn’t matter to me. Soldier on!