Torso is the creature that has risen from the grave of the slowly decomposing corpse that was the UK’s Possessor. When this horror metal outfit bit the dust in 2021, vocalist and guitarist Graham Bywater soon scratched his itch for more music by diving into Bear Bites Horse Studio and recorded this 30-minute, seven track release, in just 16 hours. Although Bywater is the main architect of the project, with him covering vocals, guitars, bass, and drums, he is ably assisted by Wayne Adams who adds deft touches on keyboards and completed the mixing and mastering.
A strange combination of styles – drawing on influences as diverse as Ministry, Mastodon, Rob Zombie, Godflesh and Melvins – Torso‘s drive-in style is interspersed and inspired by the 70s giallo soundtracks of Morricone, Goblin and Bruno Nicolai etc. But, aside from the cinematic interludes, it’s the driving grindhouse sludge n’ roll of A Crash Course in Terror that dominates, with the big beefy opening of “Heads Start to Roll”, and the chunky riffage of “Sinking Spell”, powering along at pace; forcing you to nod that head and tap that foot in a wild ol’ ride of exploitation-obsessed horror, metal and rock n’ fuckin’ roll!
Often anthemic in the style of Rob Zombie, Ministry etc, Torso‘s switch between pounding stoner sludge and cinematic sections works well. Spacy and hallucinogenic, “Depth Charge” particularly takes the listener to another level, echoing the kind of filmic sounds which wouldn’t be out of place in a 70s / 80s John Carpenter movie.
However, for those who came for a more straight-laced skull thumping, it’s the likes of “Precious Blood” – with its throbbing dance groove – that might be of more interest. A seven-minute monster which closes the album with some heft, the monumental “Circuit Breaker” then brings another dimension, using its pounding rhythms and mid-tempo grooves to hammer you into submission.
So, if you like your metal to come tinged with a horror edged soundtrack, then Torso‘s A Crash Course in Terror is definitely something to wrap your ears around (if they’ve not already been severed by an axe-wielding lunatic, of course)….it’s certainly a release that doesn’t shy away from the unusual! 7/10
Torso‘s A Crash Course in Terror is due for release on 27th January 2023 via APF Records