Of all the genres of music, it’s safe to say that metal was made for the outcasts, by the outcasts. There’s lots of people who can be considered the losers of society, whether it be because of how they look, what they like, or simply because they hate society as a whole. So it’s only natural that a genre as a caustic and diverse as metal can deliver some crazy music that hardly fits the preconceived notions of what is to be expected. Thus is the case of Tormenta, a band from Leeds in the UK that identify themselves as an Electronic Tribal Metalcore band. Let’s see if their newest release, “Chapter 2,” can deliver on the wild expectations that such a.. unique sounding sub-genre establish.
The opening track, “Murderous,” opens with some ambient clean guitar chords before going into a chugging, pitch harmonic-laden riff that is complemented by deep, guttural vocals and hardcore-styled spoken word. The second verse mixes it up even more, with the vocals bouncing between the familiar aggression and rapping before transitioning back into the opening chords. It’s definitely a tune that plays with your expectations. Track 2, “My Catastrophe,” is a fusion of groove and nu-metal, with vocals that sound like a blend of Randy Blythe and Fred Durst, and riffs that hearken back to early-2000’s Slipknot. Another curve-ball comes in the form of the following track, “Crimson,” thanks to an increased focus on the electronic aspect of Tormenta’s sound, a trend that continues on track 4, “Life’s Duality.” I think of all the tracks though, “Warcry” is my favorite. As a massive fan of video games, I loved the Street Fighter 2 samples throughout the song, as well as the crushing guitar work. The vocals also are at the top of their game in this one – pun partially intended – with a soaring chorus, gang chants, and searing shrieks.
Still not content to rest on their laurels, the title track serves as a soulful ballad that shockingly evokes memories of Blind Guardian’s “The Bard Song.” The clean vocals, which have been hit or miss at this point, are quite beautiful and serve the track well. The next two tracks, “Mouthbreathers” and “Black Hole,” almost go into sludge metal territory with their plodding instrumentation and raw vocal work, instantly making the previous ballad feel like a distant memory. The final three tracks are very much in line with the sound Tormenta established on the first three songs, though I feel they lack the punch of the songs that proceeded them.
Overall, “Chapter 2” is an album that is definitely not afraid to take risks, for better or worse. Fortunately, most of them pay off and result in satisfying tunes that stand apart from their contemporaries. Be sure to give these guys a listen if you want something more than your run-in-the-mill metal band.
Overall Sound – 7 out of 10 (numerous sub-genres mashed together that more often than not result in some fun songs)
Vocal Style – 7 out of 10 (great aggressive vocals, with hit-or-miss cleans and rapping)
Overall Song Composition – 8 out of 10 (variety for days)
Originality – 9 out of 10 (these guys put their many influences into a blender and created something that doesn’t quite sound like any one other band)