At first glance, the history of Tormentum appears to be a rather peculiar one. In its 12 years of existence, the underground Black Metal band from Finland has yet to release a real full-length album, but has produced four demos, namely “See You at the Morgue”, “Demo 2006”, “Demo 2013” and “The God of Witches”. These are all compiled on the “The Demos 2004 – 2013” tape released by Schattenkult Produktionen in 2014.
The musical side of Tormentum's discography is incredibly strong. Catchy and snappy melodies and riffs, a lot of pace variations and a constant feeling of development and variation make each track enjoyable and manage to capture the listeners attention throughout the entire running time. As seems to be the case with many new and old Finnish bands, Tormentum's aim seems to be the production of well-executed pure Black Metal in the vein of the earliest days and not the creation of a specificly own or “progressive” sound. And at this, the band fully succeeds.
Although the demos are all very similar in style and only really differ in recording quality – not drastically, though – the A-Side that contains “Demo 2013” and “The God of Witches” is slightly better. The title-track of their second-last demo “The God of Witches” is a good example for how well this form of standard Black Metal can still work when done well. Especially when it comes to structuring and the interaction between percussion and the guitars, Tormentum reveal their most noticeable strengths. “Nothing Wrong to Murder” (this time from the 2006 demo) is another highlight and surely stands out when it comes to force and brutality, whereas “Blackhoood” shows the band from a more dreamy and melancholic side. Of course, the pretty strict style is the trademark of all the tracks.
It must be noted, though, that the vocals are so silent in the mix that Tormentum almost appears to be an instrumental project. They are drawn out to almost Xasthurian proportions and can only be noticed if the listener really pays attention to them. Although Tormentum works well without a “real” vocal performance, it would surely benefit from it a lot. This is the only flaw in the discography of Tormentum, but it is a very significant one.
“The Demos 2004 – 2013” offers very good music, a neat layout and some nice old school ambience. The absence of a real vocal performance is slightly disappointing, but Tormentum is still absolutely worth exploring and far better than most Black Metal of this ilk that is released nowadays.