TORMENT - Dragged From The Vault 3RD Belgium Weckin’ Festival 1990.
Released November 2022 on Crazy Love Records – CCLP64424 Reviewed on 16/02/2023 Reviewed by Holger E. @laut.fm/radio-psychobilly
The Band: Simon Brand on Guitar & Vocals, Simon Crowfoot on Slap-Bass & Backing Vocals, Kevin Haynes on Drums & Backing Vocals
Thank God for Crazy Love Records to keep this piece of Psychobilly history alive. The history of Torment is well recorded, so i only give you a few points. Founded in 1985 in Bristol (UK) and managed to get a record deal in 1986 with Nervous Records. Torment is well know to have pushed the boundaries in the Psychobilly genre. The way they structured the lyrics and talked about personal problems, alcohol and many more things and to some peoples surprise, Torment did not stick with the typical horror graveyard stomp plan of Psychobilly. The level of song writing went up another step and also changed the way all three of them played their own instrument to create their unique sound, The Torment Sound. By 1990 the fourth Album arrived but sadly that marked the final curtain for Torment. Look past the sound quality as this is 1990 and straight from the sound engineers desk. So raw that it brings you right back to this special gig.
Track by Track 1.: Lonesome Train: This track is more aggressive than it’s original counterpart. Lots of heavy Slap-Bass that jumps straight into your ear. Hard hitting Drums and a Guitar that is screaming to the rough , raw and pure Vocals. 2.: Slow Down: That’s how you convert a jazzy, boogie, swing loaded track into the perfect Psychobilly soundtrack from the late 80’s. Pumping Slap-Bass to support the crazy Drums and the fully reverb loaded Guitar. Then speed it up and put punk Vocals over it. 3.: I’m A Loser: Not to be mistaken for a song by The Beatles. Taking a slice of Psychobilly history (The Ricochets). Torment turn up the volume on aggression on Guitar, Drums and Slap-Bass. Still keeping the respect to their idols. 4.: Pass It On: Slowing down a bit but still keeping the punctuation. This track written by Torment is a great piece to show of the ability of song writing and structuring lyrics. Cool Guitar solo as an intro to get joined by the low low low down Slap-Bass and Cymbal crashing Drums. 5.: Missing You: Faster that light Guitar riffs staring the insane forward drive that happens when the finger bursting Slap-Bass and the hammering of the Drums set in. Great fast Vocals that get filled out by the Backing Vocals. 6.: Route 66: Rockin’ your socks off. When you can pull off a stunt like this. Going from jazz, swinging Nat King Cole to Chuck Berry and many more to Torment playing Route 66 that says a lot. Torment took the influence of Jazz, Swing, Rock’N’Roll and brought it to the next level. 7.: My Dream: This is pure old school Psychobilly. On this track you get changes in tempo and stops were the Guitar fills in the void and then you have harmonic Vocals. Heaps of dry sounding Drums and just a rumbling Slap-Bass slightly in the background. 8.: Zodiac Revolution: Using the Slap-Bass like the thunderous engine and the Drums like the crashing speed this car goes down the road. Screaming Guitar is the petrol in the tank and the Vocals are more like a warning from the car-horn. The real Fast and Furious. 9.: The Source: Up into the Mosh-pit. Reverb screaming Guitar that goes at an insane speed with matching Vocals. Simple but effective Slap-Bass and punk’ish Drums to give it the full blown picture. Underlined with cool Backing Vocals. The accidental feedback gives it a good character. 10.: Eye For An Eye: Just released a year before this live gig. Torment is proving people wrong, you do not need Horror, Ghoul or the Graveyard to play great Psychobilly. Drum your heart out as an intro to just have a split second pause to make sure Slap-Bass and Guitar are joining in. Keep an eye out then here coming the Vocals. 11.: Torment: What a master piece this is. The perfect melting point of Rockabilly Revival and Punk Rock. Unbelievable demonstration of Guitar playing summons the demon of the Drums and the hellfire of the Slap-Bass. Only Torment could deliver the calm cool Vocals to this track. 12.: Twenty Flight Rock: Would you try it? Cover such a famous song and in the Psychobilly style? Surprise, you expected some mad track but Torment kept this very original. Yes, they changed the tempo and some of the Guitar riffs but that’s it. Love it. 13.: Rockjet: Full on Drums and a Slap-Bass that flows in with the Kick-Drum is genius. Reverb heavy Guitar with short riffs. Vocals that sounds soft and calm and then BANG, tempo change on Vocals. That draws the rest in to play faster. Screaming Guitar solo on the faster side and BANG, tempo-change to slow tempo and calm Vocals etc. This made Torment stand out of the new established Psychobilly scene. And by the end you do not no what song you are listening to......... 14.: The Last Time:...........well it is The Rolling Stones “The Last Time”. Still on the same Guitar riffs from the track before just a bit more melodic. Turning the Slap-Bass in a forward driving instrument that sits right with the Drums. The Drums dominate the background during the whole track and sets up all the spaces for the Guitar solos. Once that’s happening the Slap-Bass steps slightly back. Great cover. Summary: This presents Torment in all it’s glory. From lyrics about working class problems to personal reasons. Torment was a forerunner not to play the typical 80’s Psycho style. I believe that it is clear that they gave the whole Psychobilly music to open up and start messing about with abrupt tempo changes and serious lyrics but still have fun. Due to an early departure of Simon Brand(R.I.P.) the Band never pushed forward. Maybe out of respect or because they thought they could not be the same any more. Thankfully some early recordings were recovered and saved. This makes it possible that we still can enjoy this great Psychobilly Band. If you are listening to the likes of Mad Sin, Long Tall Texans, Frenzy and Guana Batz, then this Album is a must. Be prepared to travel back in time.