Saturday, 10 September 2011

Torture Garden - Dead Romantic

Self Released 2011

1.Sacred Heart 2.Torture Garden 3.And Hope To Die 4.The Call Of Nature
5.S.O.S 6.Yet Never 7.Sympathy For The Monster

Eerie acoustic guitar intro sets the atmosphere perfectly for opening track ‘Sacred Heart’. Sorrow filled doom bleeds desperately from the speakers. Adam’s vocals have grief etched into every word with an almost chant like expression. Guitars are mournful, grief stricken but retain a sense of purpose, a sense of melody. This is definitely the music to end your days on this filth ridden planet listening to, mulling over life’s regrets, all your dreams crushed as you breathe your life last breath. The main clean, sung vocals are backed up every now and again by some rasping, almost Black Metal type screaming, which seems a strange combination, but works well. The more extreme vocals are used to end the track, turning the track from grief stricken doom, to almost sounding like a raw and lo-fi black metal song. The Guitars do retain their sense of ‘doom’ however, so the continuity of the song isn’t lost. This isn’t for the faint hearted, clocking in at nearly 13 minutes of depressive, suffocating music.
 ‘Torture Garden’ has a different feel to the previous track, slightly more black metal injected into the sound through the guitars and vocals. Haunting, tortured screams take over the track, the music dropping out. Definitely the sound track to your own personal hell! When the music resumes, there’s a bit more pace added, unfortunately the drum programming lets the track down. A human drummer needed to add feeling as drum machines, if not programmed properly, can more than often sound clumsy and clinical, which is apparent here. ‘And Hope To Die’ see’s the doom (funeral doom, definitely not happy upbeat 70’s inspired doom) element re-introduced, female vocals used to add even more depression to the overall sound. TG’s sound is definitely an acquired taste, this song being the longest on offer, at over 16 minutes. Prepare to be dragged down into something very nasty indeed! TG’s sound is very English, reminiscent of bands who were at the forefront of the genre back in the early 90’s, think (early) My Dying Bride, (early) Anathema, Chorus of Ruin, Solstice maybe. Then add a hint of Black Metal and you’re just about there with what the band are creating. It’s definitely the guitars which keep things interesting, a real overriding sense of despair, but for all the melancholy on display they remain remarkably catchy, well written and mature.
‘The Call Of Nature’ continues the theme of depression and brings back the Black Metal sound slightly, acoustic guitars used over the heavy guitars to great effect, the track taking on a more raw feel the further into it we get. There’s even a blast beat introduced which actually sounds ok in amongst the raw, bleak black metal sounding music. ‘S.O.S.’ opens up strangely, the words “Heaven Help Me” spoken, then nothing, absolute silence for an uncomfortably long time. Obviously trying to create something a bit different, but ended up sounding a bit wrong. Things don’t improve when the song eventually gets going either, soft acoustic guitars complemented by soft ,sung vocals which aren’t the best sung vocals, sounding strained, almost out of tune – it’s not pretty, but maybe that’s the intention! ‘Yet Never’ is as funeral doom as the band have sounded so far, crawling along, guitars allowing the riffs to stretch out endlessly, the drums as simplistic as is possible, barely even been hit, just enough to keep a simple beat. Growled vocals used which sound great over the depressive music. Maybe if this style of vocal had been used a bit more, the whole cd would be a bit more appealing as the sung and spoken vocals can become hard to listen to. ‘Sympathy For The Monster’ ends this marathon of depression and as with a lot of the music on offer is very unforgiving, feedback and noise introduces the track and then sung, almost monk like chanting begins, the vocals doubled up to sound almost choir like. It creates an exhausting atmosphere and would not be classed as ‘metal’. That is until the thunderously heavy guitars fade in, heavy as fuck, extreme as fuck. This works really well, the tension building, then being instantly released. It’s a fitting finale to 66 minutes of suffocating, depressive, haunting and grief stricken creations. This isn’t going to appeal to everyone, it can be hard going at times, but if you’re in the mood to be depressed, this will appeal. Different, but strangely appealing.
6.5 Out of 10

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