Feb 24, 2012

Heads Up: TORT – S/T ...


The Spanish band Tort that features none-other than ex-Lords of Bukkake guitarist Sergio Sancho have this pretty short but very sweet piece of sludge out on the always excellent Total Rust label. Formed not much more than just a couple of years ago, this is their début release. The band's influences seem to come through loud and clear, at least to my ears. There are echoes of classic sludge in the Iron Monkey tradition, some filthy doom a-la Grief and more metallic sounds that range from High On Fire to even Slayer.

There are riffs galore and some solid grooves and generally speaking, it is more up-tempo than your average, run-off-the-mill sludge-metal act.  The album kicks off with a tune called 'Vallaha' built around the one monstrous riff. It is not exactly what you would call diverse and there isn't much variation throughout the 6:15 of this tune but it is an intense, almost thrashy sludge attack that never lets-up. The vocal style is a little different from most other sludge bands. Vocalist Xavier Guerrero Calduch has a raw, primal screaming voice that would probably be more at home in a grindcore band than a sludge-metal band but it still sounds great nonetheless.




Following on from that little barrage of metallic fury comes 'Cannibals of Ma'arrat' that is bass-laden sabbathian inspired sludge mixed with slime-infested doom grime similar to Grief. Unleashing some (slightly) infectious grooves, this one packs a wallop and again has bursts of speed that is pretty un-common for anything within the sludge-metal genre. The album's centerpiece and first real excursion into something a bit different is next with the 13:33 of 'Gnosis of The Dead.' The band inject some psychedelia into the album at this point but still slow down for some Saint Vitus sabbathian doom riffing. Considering how long the tune is, it could be heard as being a little overblown and overly stretched-out. The track doesn't really start to grab me till almost 9 minutes in when they unleashed some hellish riffage and aggression so to my way of thinking, it would be a better piece simply if it was chopped in half but it is hardly a deal-breaker and still is a decent epic tune.

'Fire Rose Vampira' is the album's shortest track at under four minutes but they whip up a metallic frenzy that is like early Slayer jamming with Iron Monkey. The thrash-sludge metal hybrid is a winning formula for Tort and this track is a gem. The self-titled album ends on the 11:23 of 'Earl Estruch.' This is on the slower end of the sludge scale with heavy inflections of psych-doom a-la Electric Wizard with the violent attitude of a Eyehategod but with clean sounding passages of atmospheric psychedelia. This is the albums most 70's rock inspired tune with bluesy leads and more sabbathian riff work. This epic track works better than the 'Gnosis of The Dead' track and is certainly an easier track to get through. It also highlights more than any other track, how great these guys are as players. At just 41 minutes, this album is an easy listen with only one track threatening to get boring which is never really does anyway. I have to recommend this album to those people who think High On Fire should have stuck with the 'The Art of Self Defense' approach to making music than the cleaner, more polished output of their last couple of albums. For those people, this album should satisfy. Also recommended for fans of Grief, Bongzilla, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Electric Wizard and even Slayer. All you people should get a buzz out of this....8.5/10.

Tort @ Totalrust Music

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