Torture Squad - Hellbound
Voice Music
10 songs (51:59)
Release year: 2008
Torture Squad official myspace
Reviewed by Charles
Torture Squad's Hellbound, their fifth album, is an energetic and inventive record, strongly rooted in thrash metal with heavy death metal overtones, but which draws on a number of pretty diverse influences to create an album with a character of its own. The band are from Brazil, and as with their younger compatriots, Bloody (also reviewed this week), it's easy to make lazy comparisons with the far more famous pioneers of this type of music from the same country, such as Sepultura. But whilst those lazy comparisons work in the case of many bands without an original sound, Torture Squad take a similar musical starting point and do an awful lot more with it.

In fact, all sorts of odd comparisons spring to mind at different points whilst listening to Hellbound. At times, such as sporadically throughout Living for the Kill, the drums are allowed to interject with extravagant, show-off fills, invoking the spirit of Absu. The slight "strangled cat" quality that Vitor Rodrigues' vocals take on occasionally enhance this likeness further. To go further afield, there's an odd breakdown in The Beast Within that throws up an entirely out-of-character major-key twiddly rock riff that sounds a bit like it could be a mid-section in an early Metallica epic such as Creeping Death or Escape. Wackier still is the multi-layered lead guitar passage that springs out of absolutely nowhere in The Fall of Man, as if some elegant melodeath band like Insomnium gatecrashed the recording studio and forced the band to lay some shimmering harmonies over the top of their rather more primal sound.

These are just interesting moments though, rather than reflective of any kind of major eclecticism. They serve to make this a colourful and varied album, without detracting in the slightest from its strength as straight-up deathly thrash. The riffs tend to be fast and immediately catchy, and there is a real energy present. The vocal lines are correspondingly shoutalong-friendly, although at times this can stray onto the slightly goofy side. ("Chaos! Chaos! Chaos Corporation!"). The death influences are laid on pretty heavily, with the band not being afraid to move up a gear into blastbests and violent guitar riffs at times. This works to a stunning extent on tracks such as Twilight for all Mankind, which alternates musical fury with atmospheric acoustic interludes, and even manages to throw in an impassioned ecological message. (What more could you want?) This song, along with the closing title track, demonstrate the bands ability to write intelligently constructed epics, as well as more straightforward thrashers.

This is a powerful and fairly original album that gets better with repeated listens, and which contains quite a few pleasant surprises. The band is unlikely to make it into too many end of year thrash lists, probably because of the overpowering presence of so many newer bands that have emerged in the last ccouple of years. This is a shame, because Hellbound is worthy of much praise.

Killing Songs :
Living for the Kill, The Beast Within, Twilight for all Mankind
Charles quoted 80 / 100
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