Fifteen years since their inception, East Coast Canadian Thrash veterans TORMENTED have managed to release one final testament (no pun intended) to their brand of balls out Maritime Metal. Together from 1989-1996, the band quickly reached cult status in their hometown of Moncton, New Brunswick, releasing their debut five song demo EP in 1992 and remaining relevant icons within the scene until their passing in 1997. Originally comprised of high school friends Larry Leblanc (guitar, Gus Aresenault would play guitars from 1990-1992), Gary Gallant (vocals), Mike Osburne (bass), and Allain Roy (drums), Larry Leblanc recently re-recorded some old TORMENTED songs consisting of two from their debut EP as well as six which were intended for release prior to their break up. When TORMENTED performed a hometown reunion show (dubbed "No Resurrection") in the summer of 2003, the overwhelming turnout prompted founding members Leblanc and Gallant to join forces and properly record the songs which were eventually meant for release. Fast-forward to the summer of 2004 and here it is: TORMENTED - "Combustible", the musical epitaph of a band whose devotion to the scene and the music will forever remain a part of Maritime Metal.
Consisting of six 1993-1995 era songs and two from their demo, "Combustible" is a good ol' fashioned slab of balls-to-the-wall Thrash that only veterans of the scene itself could pull off. With obvious influences shining throughout each recording (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, METALLICA etc.) an ever present apparent rawness in the production helps retain the old school vibe these songs (I'm sure) initially had when they were first brought to life. It's obvious when listening to "Combustible" that Leblanc, who performed and wrote all the music as well as produced, engineered and mixed the album, and Gallant (who did all the vocals) really put their heart into this album as no doubt this release meant a lot to both musicians. Everything is tight and on point (awesome solos) but what else would one expect from such seasoned veterans. As for "Arsenal Of Democracy" and "Psycho Circus Clown" from their demo, each song translates well despite sounding a tad dated. However, it is interesting when one reads the lyrics to "Arsenal..." and applies them to the current state of the world (considering that this song is over a decade old). As an added bonus, Larry Leblanc (who remains a dedicated musician) has included some bonus tracks (songs 9-13) of his latest musical endeavour entitled DEAD REACH which incorporates certain TORMENTED Thrash nuances with a more modern sound and varying vocal work.
For someone who is unfamiliar with the Maritimes (East Coast Canada) and the quality Metal this part of Canada has produced, this album may not mean as much, but if you are at all interested in the Metallic heritage of this specific region, you might as well start with those whose influence remains relevant to this day. (Online September 14, 2004)