posted on 10/2010 By:
Despite that they share a name with a character from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Fargo’s Gorgatron doesn’t seem to embrace the same silly humor. As near as I can tell on the humor front, Torturetorium is a largely laugh-free take on gore-tinged death metal, with some grinding elements in play but largely squarely in the realm of vintage Floridian death with a simple, straight-to-the-bloodied-point presentation. All in, Torturetorium is enjoyable in moments, but taken overall, it’s just another meat ‘n’ potatoes record from a Midwestern death metal act that falls short of separating themselves from the competition.
Production-wise, as in all ways, Torturetorium is acceptable—at times, the snare drum is pingy, which is a pet peeve of mine, although generally that ringing crack sounds stouter in the frequent blast-beats and faster patterns. The guitars are sharp but raw enough to hit the spot; the vocals are mostly contained to a snarling growl, with screams periodic throughout. Riff-wise, this is on the simpler side of death metal. There are moments that could be grand, witness the slicing harmony leads of “Dissemblance“ or the intro of “Misanthropic,” but what plagues the entire record plagues the riffs—little here transcends, all is average and nothing is above that. In listening to these eight tracks, it becomes difficult to distinguish one from the next, as few of them sport any kind of hook, neither instrumental nor rhythmic nor vocal. And that’s where Gorgatron falls short—their sound is a good start, but still they’ve managed to craft an album devoid of highlight, almost entirely lacking in any singular moment that sets foot outside the band’s and the style’s boundaries to make a difference. Of all that’s on hand, only doom-tinged final track “Haunted By Nothing” captures any sort of memorable vibe, and even that isn’t exceptional, just merely better than all that precedes it.
Gorgatron has some potential, but they’ll definitely need to step up their songwriting to get recognized outside of North Dakota. I listened to this maybe fifteen times in the last month, and I couldn’t tell you much about one part of one song contained within, couldn’t give you more than just a general description of what sound Gorgatron is peddling and a few bits within. In the long run, Torturetorium is just another death metal record in a sea of them, far from the pinnacle of what’s to be heard and lost well within the swarm of mediocrity beneath. Death metal fanatics insatiable for any growled-and-grunted fix may find moments of angry wonder within these tracks, but overall, this Torture is only a middling pain at best.
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