Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Severe Torture - Fall of the Despised


Severe Torture had reached their musical peak and had achieved critical acclaim from critics worldwide. This was the album that made the breakthrough with their fan base. After this album was released, concert attendance and record sales skyrocketed to the point where they started headlining tours with big names like Cephalotripsy, Severed Savior, and General Surgery as opening acts and became one of John Gallagher’s favorite bands. This is one of those cases where despite the fact that their popularity exploded, I’m not as keen on this record as I am with Misanthropic Carnage and Feasting on Blood. But this album is still very strong and holds a permanent place in my music library (as do all of Severe Torture’s other records).

With a lot of bands with this much brutality that have achieved high popularity, they lose some of their brutality once they come out with their “breakthrough” album (Aborted, Cattle Decapitation, Veil of Maya, etc.). The reason why I say that is not only because it’s true, but because Severe Torture has lost NO brutality since Misanthropic Carnage. Severe Torture stays dependable and true to their word with Fall of the Despised and don’t let any of their well-known brutality slip away. But even though the brutality is more than evident, the quality of the music itself seems to have taken a slight decline; not so much the creativity as much as how practiced and thought-out the music is. Many of the songs seem a bit sloppy and sometimes weak. Obviously, there was something that happened within the band because they took an extra year to have the album “ready enough” for release. I guess this is a band that can’t write very much (or well) on the road because I noticed a lot of touring going on during 2002-04.

The biggest change that Severe Torture has made is that they’ve taken things more to the death metal areas than the grindcore realms. Not only that, but their sound has become even more similar to Dying Fetus than ever before! And I’m specifically talking about one element that they’ve added in that Dying Fetus is known for doing exceptionally well, and that is BREAKDOWNS. We have the (now much less) technical guitars with the blast beat drumming keeping the stampede at full-force to then compact the sound and drop it on the listener with a body-crushing breakdown. I will admit that Severe Torture’s breakdowns aren’t too shabby, but seriously, they went from using NO breakdowns to using three or four in every song! That was either the decision of the band or (most likely) the record label…why? BECAUSE IT’S WHAT THE METAL KIDS OF TODAY WANT TO HEAR! It’s what sells records! That’s why there’s shitty bands like Emmure and The Acacia Strain playing sold-out concerts and making tons of money simply by playing 3-4 minute BREAKDOWNS!

Although this is a huge downfall in quality for Severe Torture, the breakdowns are performed smoothly and never sound out-of-place. The transitions in and out of the breakdowns are done fairly well (considering that it’s actually not that easy), so it’s not like the introduction of that one element totally ruined the album; it still sounds pretty damn catchy. I would give this record 13/20 because Severe Torture made a major decline in originality and uniqueness, but still keep the Severe Torture sound that they’ve always played. I would recommend this to death grind fans…anyone else can let this one slide and keep headbanging to their first two albums.