Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Torture Chamber

Qayin, the new EP from East Bay Area's raw Black Metal outfit Torture Chamber, is not a hard pill to swallow. The band provides nothing completely new in terms of the value of each of its parts – however, the way that they put them together fuses two aspects of harsh noise that make Qayin more of an experience than a task. The album begins with a spacey, atmospheric track titled Defiling the Throne which welds together sounds reminiscent of the WATAIN of days past in conjunction with current Maryland grindcore ensemble Full of Hell. The transition between speedy, grinding violence and slow, rhythmic pounding provides a welcome contrast that suspends any chance to become bored while listening, which continues well into the second and third tracks. The Blood of Angels varies just enough in the right places to be both delightfully headbangy and wondrously evocative of a circle pit, containing a moody and desperate undertone that continues beneath the building tension and measured devolution into chaos. One Thousand Plagues continues to run with the theatrical elements introduced in the previous track, opening with a slow, clean, melancholy intro that abruptly transitions into more straightforward grinding violence. The reintroduction of the roomy atmosphere allows for this specific piece to blend the best elements of the first and second track into one succinct amalgamation that continues to engage through a surprising groovy break 1:15 in. Around 2:30, we are introduced to an ominous instrumental with a riff that continues through the “shreddier” parts of the song, building tension that ultimately leads nowhere into a brilliantly simple and abrupt final climax, which then falls into a slow and calculated regression. The final track, Drowning in the Blood of Vermin, opens with an unsettling (yet straightforward) intro. It heads into a groovy section, building violence and diving straight into a high stakes grinding black metal segment. Overall, this track is a bit dull in comparison to the others, offering only the consolation of a few interesting techniques (growls in combination with shrieks, a clean guitar break with a bit of cool ambient feedback, and the mood). However, this EP as a whole engages until the last moment, despite its misstep on the final track. It is definitely recognizable as a rawly recorded album, with recording clicks and tracks that continue one or two seconds past the end of the songs. This somewhat interrupts the feel of the release at times, but not so much that it diminishes its value. Torture Chamber is definitely a needle in a haystack, proving that their skill is currently beyond their assets.

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