Severe Torture Returns With Momentary Brutality on “Fisting the Sockets” (EP Review)
Fisting the Sockets is an-excellently titled release from Dutch death metal demons Severe Torture. The three-track EP defines Severe Torture’s brand of extreme metal, which it has perfected since its 1997 formation, and it just happens to be the band’s first new material in 12 years. The quintet has previously released five full-length albums, performed countless shows and toured extensively in North and South America, Mexico, and their home continent of Europe–the band’s return to the metal scene is very welcomed, even if this offering is relatively brief.
Severe Torture specializes in no holds barred, straight ahead, pummeling old-school style death metal similar to veteran bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Aborted and Suffocation. Their definitive sound encapsulates the early ’90s death metal era with brutality and energy, while also injecting a more modern approach as well. The tracks are laced with scorching riffs full of dynamics that are fast and energetic, often turning into a groove-laden rhythmic thrust with a touch of melody at the drop of a hat.
The album opener and the title track introduces Severe Torture in an all-around package: an ominous, melodic, and reverberating guitar intro sets the tone nicely with a “calm before the storm," and the building anticipation soon explodes with blasting drum beats and furious riffs wrapped in a frenzied, mid-paced tempo. Vocalist Dennis Schreurs’ vicious vocal range resides somewhere between a lower guttural growl and a harsh mid-range inflection. For the most part, his lyrics and words are decipherable enough to pick out during the tracks. Drummer Damien Kerpentier is always up to the task of injecting quick drum fills or pummeling double kick drum patterns to fill in the spaces not occupied by his insanely accurate blast beats. Guitarists Marvin Vriesde and Thijs van Laarhoven work well together by creating ferocious riffs, skillful leads and melodies throughout the EP, while the workman-like basslines of Patrick Boleij provide a decent anchor to the rhythm section. Sharp and angular production gives the guitars a cutting sonic tonality up front with the snare drum and vocals equally dominant in the mix.
The final two tracks, “Entangled in Hate” and “Head and Hands Not Found,” continue the momentum the band gained on the opening track with equal amounts of aggression and musicality. The former is a furious track decorated with a chunky, snare drum/guitar pattern with a relentless tempo, while the latter is a nice musical journey with innovative transitions and melodies, keeping the listener’s interest until the lone reverb guitar chords echo and fade out brilliantly to end the track. This three-song assault fits into a tight 14-minute album runtime with the longest track, “Head and Hands Not Found,” clocking in at over five minutes.
Due to the global pandemic of 2020, Fisting the Sockets was scheduled to be released much sooner. After recently resigning with Season of Mist, who released Severe Torture’s last album, 2010’s Slaughtered, the band has been injected with renewed energy. Severe Torture has somehow flown under the radar within the metal underground circles, and after a decade-plus without new material, this short EP is an appetizer while the band is currently recording their newest full-length album to be released in early 2023. Fisting the Sockets is the perfect reintroduction to the band, proving that quality always wins over quantity.
Fisting the Sockets releases on June 10th, 2022 via Season of Mist.