This is the third album by this trio from Dubai comprising of guitarists Barney Ribeiro and Rami H. Mustafa with bassist and vocalist James Khazaal. They’ve been around since the turn of the century delivering their brand of hyper fast and aggressive death metal. From what I can tell, the drums on this album were recorded by Kevin Foley and with his impressive list of credentials, they definitely made a great choice getting him in there to lay down those blistering tracks.
The album opens with the instrumental intro “∞” with its array of Arabian instruments followed by a steady drum tattoo and meandering guitar lead until “Aadvent” comes in with full force and a mighty roar from James over the blasting drums.
“Proxy War” is a no holds barred attack on the senses with the viscously beaten snare keeping time for the meticulous footwork the guitars have to racingly play their riffs over.
James’s vocals delivery on “D.N.A. (Diruo Nocens Acervus)” is at less than half time and would seems laboriously slow were it not for the speed the drums are being played. The guitar riffs are between the two, with the leads providing a little melody to hold on to too.
The choppy guitars are emphasised by the constant stopping of the drums in “Abyssviand”, while the lead hits plenty of high notes that have been ignored up to this point.
The short instrumental interlude that is “Hypnosis” is mercifully free of blasting and allows you to catch our breath before diving straight back into “Malice Within” where the acoustic intro is defiled by the ferocity of the drums and guitars and the spat out vocals.
The intricate lead on “Dawn of Decimation” matches the slightly less brutal pace of the song as it gallops along before the twang of the extremely tight snare drives the guitar riffs headlong into the rumbling bass solo on “Habitual Deceit”.
While it may initially feel like “Maqabre” is going to be a bit of a reprieve from the onslaught, it is only so in pace but not in aggression and intensity, as the guitars go through melodic progressions the drum battering continues unabated. Rami’s leads even have a lighter tone to them.
The guttural roar that kicks off “Tree of Lies” is only matched by the incessant blasting that requires the guitars to be squealing through the riff changes to be heard through the scything cymbals.
The buzzing guitars and lightly whacked cymbals give Rami’s lead on “Treading Beneath” a rather ethereal quality as he tremolos the wailing notes ’til they gently fade out and the title track “Past, Present…Torture” begins with a soaring lead and a far thrashier riff structure. But then Kevin’s drumming kicks in to give everything a far deathier feel, but the choppy rhythm and false harmonics save the day.
If you’re after some brutal fast paced death metal with a subtle hint of the Middle East. Then definitely give this a listen.
(7/10 Marco Gaminara)