Torture Killer - Swarm Review
by Matt Hensch
Love him or hate him, Chris Barnes is an important figure in death metal. Barnes fueled the gory image of Cannibal Corpse and started the controversial groove-laden death metal outfit Six Feet Under, which brought the world a new kind of death metal. Many metal fans don't like the direction Barnes took with Six Feet Under, but I love all of his material. I think the Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse totally dismantles everything with Corpsegrinder and Six Feet Under is a genius project, that's why I became intrigued with Torture Killer.
Named after the classic Six Feet Under track, Torture Killer started out as a cover band that began writing their own material after a handful of gigs. The band's first album, "For Maggots To Devour," was similar in Six Feet Under's style of groove laden death metal. After the band gave singer Matti Liuke the boot, Torture Killer soon acquired Six Feet Under growler Chris Barnes to perform vocals. With Chris Barnes behind the mic and the rest of the band ready to play some metal, Torture Killer released "Swarm," a straight-up Chris Barnes classic.
"Swarm" is nothing less then an onslaught of groove orientated death metal riffs. From start to finish, the riffs are mid-paced and heavy, much like Six Feet Under. The groove riffs occasionally speed up and sound similar to standard death metal riffs, but these typically don't last long as they switch back into the groove sound. "Forever Dead" and "Multiple Counts Of Murder" have these soothing melodies tossed in toward the end of both tracks. Unlike the groove riffs, these melodies are slow,soft, and somewhat relaxing. "Swarm" is also quite good in the sense that it's a catchy album. A majority of the riffs and melodies are really catchy and will stick in the back of your mind well after you've put the CD down.
"Swarm" is one of Chris Barnes's better vocal performances. Anyone familiar with Chris's Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under albums should expect a similar amount of energy in his vocals. Chris's growls are deep and brutal, yet somewhat different. Instead of the considerably low growl he uses on most of Six Feet Under's material and the last three records he did with Cannibal Corpse, Chris uses a hybrid style of singing and growling. His growls are obviously a bigger part of his vocals, but his voice sounds clearer and easier to understand, almost like his vocals on "Eaten Back To Life."
"Swarm" isn't a classic, but it's a damn good record. This is essential for anyone who enjoys Six Feet Under, but I recommend you check this out if you enjoy metal in general.
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