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Severe Torture
Sworn Vengeance

Company: Earache Records
Release: 2007
Reviewer: Etiam
Genre: Death

  • Altogether solid enough to enter the Benelux canon without complaint



  • Of metal's past two decades, the Benelux countries' tradition of death metal has been one of the most dependably prolific and iconic, combining the appeals of Scandinavian melodicism and Polish brutality with their own distinctive (and often grisly) knacks. However, for all its consistent strength, the scene has produced few superstar groups or mandatory name-drops over the years. As a result, the mainstream has perennially shunted it aside, leaving vintage cultists to revere names like Asphyx, Thanatos, and Pestilence.

    As one of Holland's more high-profile groups--Aborted still being the most popular, probably--Severe Torture have done rather well for themselves, landing a spot on Earache's roster and keeping their name afloat in the metal media's restless sea with a steady release schedule. Recently, some have even thought that the band's success was enough that they might 'sell out', and pervert their Cannibal Corpse-brutal roots into pseudo-heavy chugging. But the band had already broken from orthodoxy by their third album, 'Fall of the Despised', where they sacrificed breakneck speed for variety now and then, and their latest effort, 'Sworn Vengeance', is merely a continuation of that trend. Indeed, much of the album is given to the kind of deliberate stomping of songs such as 'Impulsive Mutilation' from their previous album. The band's riffing has become progressively less manic, instead tending to slinky grooves (albeit often uptempo) that thud decisively back down to tonic at regular intervals before swirling away again. (Necrophagist's 'Extreme Unction' came to mind regularly, especially during 'Fight Something'.)

    Perhaps in an attempt to assuage the worries of older fans, 'Sworn Vengeance' opens with 'Dismal Perception', a swift and pummeling track--one of the album's best--that demands an almost instant repeat. Following a thirty-second fade in, Severe Torture eagerly show that they still have plenty of pit-storming vigor, with wonderfully tight instrumentation and Dennis' throaty vocals. Throughout the album he scatters in some vintage Benelux groans--breathier, higher-pitched, and quite stomach-churning--that are used just enough to disrupt the monotony of his normal delivery without losing their freshness. 'Buried Hatchet' also features guest vocals from Jason Netherton (Misery Index) and Che Snelping (ex-Born From Pain); the latter is appealingly gruff and not far from Leif Jensen of Dew-Scented (for whom Martin plays guitar now and again), but Jason was a regrettable choice and pushes the song towards tough-guy sophomorism.

    His contribution is limited to one song, though, while another issue that deserves greater attention is present all throughout the album: its solos. Were the members not so talented, and had the solos on 'Fall of the Despised' been worse, those on 'Sworn Vengeance' would seem fair in comparison. But given the band's knack for engaging hooks and aggressive flair on nearly all other fronts, these leads simply don't match up. None is especially reproachable, and one might even commend the band for tracking relatively melodic and diatonic solos in an age when atonality and sweeps are in vogue, but they do very little to engage the listener and appear altogether too often. Another concern for some might be the production, which, while beefy and immediate, does not feature the bass and rack drums (i.e. toms and the like) prominently enough. Nevertheless, 'Sworn Vengeance' is altogether solid enough to enter the Benelux canon without complaint. In brief, while it isn't much better than their previous works, neither is it much worse.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SEVERE TORTURE
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    BloodlettingSevere Torture
    2005
    Axeman4/29/2005
    Fall of DespisedSevere Torture
    2005
    Etiam8/5/2006
    Sworn VengeanceSevere Torture
    2007
    Etiam8/22/2008
    Sworn VengeanceSevere Torture
    2007
    Al Kikuras4/11/2008


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: SEVERE TORTURE

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: SEVERE TORTURE
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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