Tormenta – S/T

01/05/2009 § Leave a comment

Artist: Tormenta
Title: S/T
Label: Self Released
Genre: Progressive Metal

Track Listing:

01 Mirages
02 Collisions
03 Fievre et Calculs Morbides
04 Le Retour de la Noyee

Tormenta’s self-titled EP is a great starting block for any progressive metal group. The band formed in 2005 and it’s taken them three years to put something on CD that’s worth charging for. Visually they don’t give much about themselves away save for moody photos taken against rural French architecture and the odd piece of surrealistic sculpture thrown into their MySpace page for good measure. After all, what’s the point of being a progressive metal musician if you can’t confound at least some of your potential fanbase with clichĂ©s? Nevertheless, even though this might seem like a pretentious start, Tormenta’s music comes across as anything but. This four-track offering of instrumental progressive metal takes itself seriously but modestly, and it’s very clear from the first microtone that the band know what they’re doing.

The packaging of the EP is a little bit confounding – at first glance I thought this was some kind of EBM or industrial disc with it’s cyclical, swirling patterns and spacelike artwork. The concentric circles in the band’s logo hint at planetary rotations while the inside of the sleeve – a figure of the human anatomy beset with organs, cogs and belching fumes – looks like something David Lynch would have doodled in film studies. Taking the band’s Frenchness into consideration I should be thankful that the track titles are linguistically coherent with not too much ‘wacky’ wordplay, puns, in-jokes and recurring instances of the letter Z. In fact, the subtlety of the artwork seems to fit quite nicely with the band’s downplayed attitude.

There are no vocals on this EP – Tormenta have set themselves up as an entirely instrumental band, at this point anyway. There are two sets of lead guitars and backing drums with no bass or keys. The EP starts off with the melodic “Mirages” with its skipping, rollicking guitar lines, played confidently and deftly. The song changes from slow, staccato’d guitar to high, speed-metal solos. “Collisions” is a heavier piece putting more emphasis on lower-end power chords and alternating time signatures. “Fievre et Calculs Morbides” is quite possibly the most complex of the four songs, employing stoner-like doom sections with classic rock and faster progressive sections, whereas “Le Retour de la Noyee” is the slowest and most ambient of the four. This isn’t just any old Dream Theater or LTE worship album: there are heavier, more metalcore influenced frissons, and more than a couple of times I was able to detect the slightest nod towards bands like Sikth or Textures.

Tormenta’s EP is a great opener for a promising band. The playing isn’t first-rate and sometimes the drumming and timing is little bit sloppy, but not enough to detract from the overall feel of the music. Of course at this stage it’s not quite as accomplished as other bands like Spastic Ink or Sleep Terror but it’s definitely going in the right direction. Tormenta have shown themselves to be a serious and talented band with the potential to do something impressive in the years to come. A little more experimentation and a little less holding back should provide for some very absorbing releases indeed.

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