Released: 2016, Pure Steel Records
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s traditional dark metal band returns after a six-year absence by releasing their fourth LP titled ON THIS EVIL NIGHT. Predictably, a mass exodus of band members had a huge impact in the delay between releases. Now with a reloaded lineup, the band sets about mining the crypts of Mercyful Fate for lyrical inspiration, while adding some Maiden guitar work and some chunky speed metal elements from Metallica. All of this is mixed with the band’s own personal stamp, resulting in a modern/traditional hybrid of melodic guitar riffs, chunky rhythms, and an overall dark vibe.
Rick Black’s vocals are a high point, mostly opting for a mid-range delivery but easily capable of the upper registers. Check out his King Diamond impersonation during the middle of the Fate-inspired “Crimson” to get an idea of Black’s abilities. “Black Dragon” has some eerie and inventive guitar lines, while bassist De Wayne Bolle effortlessly doubles the shifting riffs, which adds prominent low end to the tune. “Dreams” is quite thrashy and panicked, reminding me of the technical/progressive tendencies of Flotsam And Jetsam as Black magically conjures our friend King Diamond again during the vocals.
Mixed through-out are generous doses of tremolo picking, Gothic overtones, and a shit-ton of riffs. By the conclusion of the album’s tenth song you will be impressed, exhausted and hard pressed to recall a standout song. That lack of stickiness is the only real fault with ON THIS EVIL NIGHT, and doubtless as this album is gradually assimilated some of the best songs will rise to the forefront. Still, despite a competent mix and accomplished performances, A TORTURED SOULD operates in the zone of poverty metal inhabited by bands like Helstar. Consequently, this will have an appeal for fans who like their bands firmly entrenched in the deep underground and hopelessly devoid of any commercial potential.