Torture Killer - Swarm!
MetalBlade Records
Grooving, Thrashing Death Metal
10 songs (34:37)
Release year: 2006
Torture Killer, MetalBlade Records
Reviewed by Jeff

I've been meaning to review "Swarm!" for a while now. It was actually released earlier this year, sometime back in late February. I first heard a song by Torture Killer while I was listening to the Sirius Satellite Radio Station "Hard Attack". I was immediately drawn to the song by the vocals, which sounded very familiar to me. That was enough for me to do some research in order to confirm exactly what this band was about.

After some further inquiries, my first instinct was confirmed. The vocals are performed by none other than of Chris Barnes (Cannibal Corpse/Six Feet Under). This furthered my interest in wanting to hear more of Torture Killer and their new album, "Swarm!". I ended up buying the CD and it's been on my MP3 player ever since.

"Swarm!" is actually the second album by Torture Killer. The graphic artwork was done by Wes Benscoter, who has also done covers for such bands as Mortician, Cattle Decapitation and Vehemence. It dipicts a rotting corpse with a swarm of killer bees buzzing out of the stomach.

Torture Killer's style of music is groove, oriented death metal with some thrash thrown in the mix. It is very similar to that of later day Obituary albums like "The End Complete", "World Demise" and "Frozen In Time" and earlier Six Feet Under albums such as "Haunted" and "Warpath". This should come as no surprise as Torture Killer first started out by playing both Six Feet Under and Obituary cover songs. Also, the band named themselves after the Six Feet Under track, "Torture Killer". If anything, "Swarm!" sounds as if it could have easily been the third Six Feet Under album. The last few Six Feet Under releases were beginning to sound stale, boring and uninspired. Chris Barnes made a good move to join this Finnish death metal outfit. His vocal style, lyrics and production talents have definitely brought this band to another level. The guitars are slightly detuned with a thick, beefy metallic sound. They cut right through like a chainsaw ripping flesh! The drum sound is well recorded and mixed, packing quite a wallop!

Out of the hundreds of cookie monster death metal vocalists, Chris Barnes has to be one of the most identifiable. Check out a song like "Funeral For The Masses". I think Chris Barnes invents what could very well be the first death metal vibrato growl. It's freaking hilarious! I can't help myself from banging my head or stomping my foot when this song starts out. The title track, "Swarm!" is mostly an instrumental with Barnes grunting "Swaaaaaaaaaaarm!". The lead guitar hammer-ons and pull-offs try to emulate the sound of killer bees. "Multiple Counts of Murder" thrashes things up a bit.

The one thing that I always find ironic about death metal is how someone can find humor in songs that deal with such subject matter such as mutilation, dismemberment, cannibalism and murder. I always wondered why death metal bands write lyrics when you can never understand them. Most of the time they are just being grunted or growled. What I can't help myself from doing sometimes is laughing when I listen to death metal. Some of it is almost comical. Maybe it's the way the music is delivered vocally or the subject matter of the lyrics and they way the are written. "Swarm!" is so full of this that you might begin to think you are listening to the horror soundtrack from a Wes Craven or Clive Barker movie! Regardless of these things, I still find something appealing about what Chris Barnes has done with both Six Feet Under and Torture Killer.

"Swarm!" doesn't reinvent the wheel though it does grease it up a bit, re-igniting some interest in this type of death metal. It's a fun album! Check it out!

Killing Songs :
Swarm!, A Funeral For The Masses, A Violent Scene Of Death, Cannibal Gluttony, Heading Towards The Butchery
Jeff quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Torture Killer that we have reviewed:
Torture Killer - I Chose Death reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
Torture Killer - Sewers reviewed by Goat and quoted 57 / 100
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There are 9 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Dec 24, 2006 5:17 am
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