tortorumI managed to catch Norwegian black metal barbarians Tortorum at a gig in their hometown of Bergen a few years ago and was blown away by their ferocity, which even exceeded the aggression and intensity captured on their two previous releases Katabasis (2014) and extinctionist (2012). I was therefore keen to hear this latest EP release to see how they have progressed.

As I understand it, there has been a line-up change for Rotten.Dead.Forgotten with previous drummer Dirge Rep having amicably departed the band, leaving Skyggen providing the blasts. The Quartet is completed by AFS on guitar, Barghest on bass and vocals and Specter on guitar, and between them they make an unholy racket!

The 6 track begins with Iao Al, a foreboding instrumental, which leads into ‘All Suns Black’, a punishing black metal assault with a claustrophobic feel due to its slower controlled pace, which almost gives the impression of a caged beast straining to be unleashed. ‘Night of the Witch’ sees the pace build slightly, but the overall feel remains one of controlled aggression. The beast finally escapes the cage on ‘Life is the Enemy’ with an unhinged feeling of barely controlled chaos, before things become more restrained again on ‘Lucifer Victrix’. Things are brought to a suitably battering close with ‘Black Mantra Mysteries’.

This is more intense than previous releases with a denser sound, even though the overall pace has slowed a little. It is not an easy listen, but is well worth the effort and is thoroughly recommended if you like nasty black metal.

(8/10 Andy Pountney)