Sordid Flesh- Torturer

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, January 22, 2014

There are so many bands playing Swedish death metal that it can sometimes be hard to keep track of them and figure out what’s a newer album and what’s a reissue from a defunct or longer running group. Sordid Flesh is one of the newcomers, as they formed in 2011 as a collaboration between musicians who had been in a number of other Swedish metal bands. Rather than going for the stereotypical old-school sound on their debut album Torturer, these guys have managed to strike a balance between all of the different elements that encompass the genre. Although the middle lags slightly, this is still an impressive debut from Sordid Flesh and a sign of even greater things to come.

What works so well about Torturer is the way that the instrumentalists are able to weave together different elements of death metal along with some outside influences. At the core of Sordid Flesh’s music are the same fast paced and lumbering riffs that have been part of the genre since the very beginning, but the band branches out from this base to provide fairly varied material. One moment they might channel a very bottom heavy, raw sound while the next the guitar work incorporates much more melody and even pull in just a slight black metal and thrash edge depending on the song. Each track is just a little bit different from the last, and early on the group is able to provide some very strong hooks. Admittedly song five through seven didn’t grab me in quite the same way that the rest of the nine songs did, as they didn’t quite have the same level of guitar leads that kept me fully engaged from beginning to end. But even when this occurred I still find Sordid Flesh to be far better than your average death metal band. When the songs are at a peak level these guys are on fire though, and if they can keep moving forward and keep this rawer sound I think they’ll be one that breaks through the clutter in the coming years.

Vocalist Fredrik Håf has a pitch that’s somewhere between black and death metal, as it’s a lower growl that isn’t extremely guttural but instead comes off as slightly raspier. There are some higher backup ranges as well, and the fact that the vocals aren’t just trying to hit the lowest possible growl like every other death metal band out there helps to make Sordid Flesh a bit more distinguishable in my mind. Håf’s performance feels truly intense and throughout the album he towers above the instrumentals and steals the spotlight on a number of occasions. This raspier pitch is one that I’ve always been drawn to when listening to both black and death metal, and along with some of the stronger guitar riffs it made Torturer a release I kept wanting to come back to.

Sordid Flesh may not quite be my favorite new death metal band, but they’re still at a high enough level to be worth giving support to. When the group hits their peak level and meshes heavy hitting riffs with flourishes of melody and some faster thrash sections they’re on fire and listeners will find plenty worth coming back to. But there’s still room for even better things to come, and I believe that in another album or two this group will not only continue to further distinguish themselves from the crowded genre stylistically but put together a release that’s consistently strong from beginning to end.

Leave a Reply