Review Summary: Obscure thrash band Torture's "Storm Alert" contains all the ingredients of good old fashioned thrash. A truly solid and atmospheric album.
Having only released one album in their entire career, it’s no surprise that Torture remains a relatively unknown band in the thrash genre. Little is known about them, but they’re from the United States and their one and only album “Storm Alert” is a an exceptionally good thrash effort. Released in 1989, the album is full of creativity and impressive instrumentation. It also has some rather slick production, especially for its time, so it still sounds as fresh today as it did over 20 years ago.
Torture displays solid musicianship throughout the entire album. Usually, when a band has songs clocking in at over 10 minutes they are taking quite the risk, especially in the thrash genre, but Torture aren’t just your average band. One of the album’s best tracks ‘Dwell Into Surreality’ is about eleven minutes long, but not once does it grow stale. It starts with an atmospheric opening with almost soothing guitar notes before it picks up the pace into a straight up thrasher. The song also has well timed solos and the drums are frantic, but the vocalist also brings a lot to the table, with some of his fiercest thrash growls on the entire album. His snarls are sure to please fans of Megadeth and they are a good fit for thrash in general. Due to the impressive instrumentation and vocal delivery, the song doesn’t feel anywhere near it’s actual length.
Thankfully, “Storm Alert” is surprisingly consistent and there are many other enjoyable songs aside from the epic eleven minute track. One thing that stands out about Torture is their ability to seamlessly mix atmosphere with their angry thrash sound. The intro track opens with organs and eerie chanting making it the perfect buildup to the album's best song. ‘Ignominious Slaughter’ is perhaps the most aggressive offering on the album which will likely melt your face off as it just refuses to slow down. Everything is top notch in the song, from the flashy guitars to some of the most demanding growls on the record. However, the band also throws some curve balls with songs like ‘Slay Ride’. If you think the song name is cool, just wait until you hear the clever intro which actually contains dialogue of Frosty The Snowman before exploding into a Christmas thrash song. It sounds nothing like a Christmas song, but it’s a truly unique song that contains the band’s own take on the Christmas story with a heavy metal twist.
Although Torture only released one album in their career, they prove to be just as good as many of their thrash peers. “Storm Alert” isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. The musicianship is solid enough to where each song stands out in a special way and there is much more creativity and atmosphere than one might expect from a thrash release. It’s full of heavy riffs, memorable vocals, and violent drums, making it an album worth checking out for anyone who fancies some good old fashioned thrash.