F.C.D.N. TORMENTOR: Dungeon Days 1982-1985: LP + CD

Sep 20, 2017

Sometime in 1984 I attended a garage party in a condo behind Cal State L.A.’s campus. What was odd was the crowd—long-haired “metal” kids wearing Discharge shirts. Still, I braced for serious Maiden worship from the band, Tormentor, and, right as rain, the first tune’s intro had all the “metal” ear markings one had come to expect. After a minute or so of that, however, the tune devolved into this ROOOOOAAAAAAARRRRRR of chaos and blinding speed, flying fingers, flailing arms, and guttural howls. Subsequent songs followed the same pattern, played at velocities that would make D.R.I. piss their pants. It was insane. When drummer Ralo later moved on to hyper-thrash pioneers No Comment, Tormentor’s wild tempos finally made sense, but at the time no one played that goddamned fast, especially a bunch of metal kids. Despite markedly influencing many of their peers, they remained in the underground until they finally disbanded in the ‘90s. Collected here are recent recordings of vintage tunes from their oeuvre, performed by the band’s core members. The tempos are dialed down a wee bit from their glory days, which means they’re working at early D.R.I. tempos when they get a good head of steam going. The deluge of bands that have followed in their wake may temper much of what made them so singular, but it’s clear here they remain a fuckin’ behemoth of a band and still one of the best at this genre. Add some kickass packaging and a bonus CD of additional tuneage and you have yourself a party, kids. Dunno if this is a one-off, but, if you’re a fan of the genre, this is prime-pickin’s here. Much love to these local pioneers, who are long overdue some propers. –Jimmy Alvarado (F.O.A.D., foadrecords.it)