Torment is album number 12 from Chris Barnes’ crew (of hired hands) and it doesn’t exactly get off to a great start. With severe wear and tear clearly audible, Barnes’ vocals sound weaker than ever on “Sacrificial Kill” and “The Separation Of Flesh And Bone”, his voice cracking and shaking under the pressure and lacking the gross power that made his name.
In fact, Torment goes down as possibly the worst album in Six Feet Under history until track 5, “Skeleton”, kicks in and then things, thankfully, improve considerably. With a military parade march snare pattern and some variety in the songwriting department, “Skeleton” rescues Torment from perpetual purgatory and the increase in quality continues from then on in. The mid-paced grooves of “Knife Through The Skull” would have sounded at home on 2005’s excellent 13 and focuses on what has always been Six Feet Under’s greatest asset; neanderthal grooves primed to provoke a mass head-banging frenzy.
Yet another line-up change seems to have derailed Six Feet Under somewhat and while Jeff Hughell (guitars, bass) provides a solid backbone (he also played bass on 2013’s infinitely superior Unborn) there’s something missing from the mix here, the quality found on latter day SFU albums such as Death Rituals, Undead and Unborn undeniably absent.
Regardless, “Bloody Underwear” (bad case of haemorrhoids?) is a deathly thrash-fest of note but it’s up to the classic SFU sound found on “Roots Of Evil” to bring Torment to a close and turn what could have been a disaster into an album that’s recommended…..but recommended to obsessive death metal completists only! 6/10