Released: 2009, Dynamic Arts Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
It´s been 3 years since Chris Barnes (needs no introduction whatsoever) and the Finnish groovy deathsters Torture Killer had a fruity collaboration going on together, which brought us SWARM!, Torture Killer´s 2nd album that had the vocal parts growled out by Chris Barnes exclusively. It was no wonder that comparisons to Chris´ own band Six Feet Under and his previous band, Cannibal Corpse were made when SWARM! was talked about among the death metal community. Chris, however, is considered an important character of death metal mainly due to his achievements with Cannibal Corpse which he is mostly known for.
SEWERS, Torture Killer´s 3rd album, does not have Chris handling the vocals parts any more - and Torture Killer´s new album has not been released on Metal Blade either, but on an independent Finnish label, Dynamic Arts Records (home for such bands as Deathchain, Machine Men, Impaled Nazarene and many more). Enter Juri Sallinen once again - an ´old-new´ Torture Killer vocalist, replacing Chris. ´Old-new´ vocalist because Juri was already helping Torture Killer on their European tour in 2004, and he also sang the vocals for the split-EP that they did with Sotajumala in 2005.
As was the name of the game on SWARM! already, groove laden death metal is still the name of the game on Torture Killer´s 3rd album, which also musically has something in common with Six Feet Under, Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse - and let´s even add Obituary´s name to the same pile as sort of a reference point. Torture Killer, having Mr. Sallinen as an old and experienced captain of the ship, are in a good strike on SEWERS. The band hammers down 8 songs in less than half an hour, nailing easily the basics of heavy and groovy death metal to the floor on their new album - and doing it in a very convincing yet pleasing way. I can imagine that people are curious to know whether Mr. Sallinen is the guy for Torture Killer to fill Chris´ boots after deciding to not continue his collaboration further on SEWERS. Well, if you have seen him on gigs with Torture Killer, or heard the split-EP that they did together with the other heavy Finnish death metal combo Sotajumala, you surely know the answer for that question already, don´t you?
SEWERS´s mid-paced and nicely groovy death metal does not come out surprising to anyone. The guys of the band have known exactly since their debut album (FOR MAGGOTS TO DEVOUR on Karmageddon Media in 2003) came out what type of stuff they want to do within Torture Killer. Since the days of their maggots-reeking debut album, they have succeeded to keep their style somewhat unchanged, loyally following and using the same heavy recipe for their musical perversions, from one album to another. SEWERS is thoroughly a very pleasing effort from these death heads again; heavy, meaty, masculine-sounding and melodic enough - even for a demanding consumer of death metal.
Themes of gore are strongly present in their lyrics as well as usual, and in fact the title track "Sewers" tells about a Russian serial killer Aleksandr "Chessboard Killer" Pitšuškin, who murdered 49 people, and whose intention was to kill 64 to fill squares on an imaginary chessboard. But that´s enough about him. The thing is that I´ve been playing the album non-stop for 4 days in a row since I got it from a PR-guy at the Finnish Metal Expo this February. Actually the only thing that sort of bugs me a little bit about this album, is the fact it´s a bit too short (just under 30 minutes). They should have thrown in a couple of more songs just to gain more length for this release, and to please us most demanding death metal diggers as well. Otherwise, a mighty great return from Torture Killer to the death metal ground - even without Barnes´ presence this time. ;o)