Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tormentor - Anno Domini [1988] (Demo)

Absolute fucking insanity. That's really all that needs to be said about Tormentor's "Anno Domini" demo. There's a reason that this record is held in such high regards in the metal underground, whether you're of the belief that this demo was incredibly influential or you feel that's just a rehash of stuff done by bands that came before such as Bathory, Mayhem (A band that Chisar would soon work with on the legendary "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"), Sodom or Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, this music is a destructive force that all falses should avoid. If you fall into the latter camp of people, then you really must get your ears checked because, while there is some definite similarities in style, Tormentor are easily one of the more unique bands of the bunch due to the technical proficiency shown throughout these 13 tracks. 

Wait, technicality and sloppy black/thrash? Surely I must be jesting, but of course not, these Hungarian vandals were very talented with their instruments because in the midst of the sheer aggression and fuddled atmosphere there are brilliant melodies that are strung throughout, acoustic sections that have a classical feel and of course there are some phenomenal solos. But, the vast majority of this demo is dedicated to sounding evil and ripping flesh with riffs that are razor sharp. The riffs range from crazy hammer-on-ridden ones like the ones found on "Heaven" (the best song on this demo by the way) and "Tormentor II" to midpaced stompers such as the ones found on "In Gate of Hell" and "Beyond" to the venomous thrash riffs and tremolos like those featured on "Tormentor I" and "Apocalypse."

Like I said, there's more to "Anno Domini" than just crazy riffs, there's some great variety here. "Lyssa" is a technical, yet blasphemous instrumental that mesmerizes as well as slays. "Trance" and "Elisabeth Bathory" both mix up the clean guitars with the distortion for an eerie and evil atmosphere that will send chills down your spine. And, of course the other instruments all deliver here, with the drumming reaching top speeds that send the music into frantic paces while also spewing out great fills left and right. The bassist manages to keep up with all of the manic music perfectly and also has some terrific fills. Then there are the vocals which might actually be the highlight of Tormentor's music, as the legendary Attila Chisar's vile rasps (very similar to Quorthon and "Angelripper") conjure up a violent storm that is equivalent to the ferocity of the music itself. To sum everything up in a sentence, "Anno Domini" is a goddamn masterpiece where everything works perfectly together and if you find yourself not liking this demo then you need to be burned and died. 

"Tormentor I"

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.3/10]