It is easy to forget or even realise that for every album or EP which we may embrace there maybe tracks which fall by the wayside never to see the light of day certainly in their originality. They may subsequently grow into or inspire a whole new entity never having the chance to prove their unique worth. Thankfully Norwegian technical metallers INSENSE have recognised the quality and striking nature of three such proposals, songs which have not seen the light for a handful of years short of two decades, and have succumbed to their demand to be uncaged as the EP, The Soothing Torture B-Sides.
The trio of tracks were written for the Oslo band’s classic 2006 full-length The Soothing Torture, but at the time the quartet felt they did not fit in with the collection which made the release so acclaimed by fans and critics alike. It seems though that the songs hung around, tempting away in some way until vocalist/guitarist Tommy Hjelm, guitarist Martin Rygge, bassist Ola Hana, and drummer Truls Haugen could not resist bringing them to the attention of their fans. It is something which we can only be thankful for, as the songs which you can healthily debate whether they could have made the album’s final mix, together provide one ravenously striking and greedily devoured proposition.
It is a release which sounds as fresh as it does of a successful moment in the band’s history, an EP which devours the senses and ignites the instincts for hellacious skilfully engineered metal; technical craft and enlivening extreme metal ferocity in one compelling marriage.
From its first second, EP opening Spawn of the Wicked is a glorious nagging. Riffs relentlessly pressure the senses, antagonism and predation fuelling their instinctive esurience as Haugen’s sticks swing with just as eager grievance. There is no let up as grooves wind their way around song and ears, those rapier rhythms continuing to bite as throat scathing vocals and backing battle cries erupt within the midst of the tempest. It is a glorious corrosive rousing of the senses, the unpredictable nature of the track as absorbing and addictive as its fertile dynamics and ruinous brutality.
It is a track which for us deserves a prominent spotlight in the band’s history as too Addicted to the Void with its own particular incursion of sound and barbarous dexterity. As grooves again spread their compelling toxicity, rhythms splinter bone and vocals harass; the track soon revealing an even greater realm of uncompromising noise and cruelty dealt unpredictability and invention. No surprise if aware of the band, the track as its companions resonates with the blossoming and growth of the band’s sound at the time of the release of The Soothing Torture, the moment when Insense arguably truly gave birth to the exploratory alignment of technical voracity and melodic dexterity with extreme metal ravening which set them apart and has drawn persistent acclaim since. Yet as mentioned, the songs stamp down a fresh authority in temptation and invention as endorsed by the EP’s closing track.
Modern Day Siren ensnares ears in an instant web of guitar vines over a tirade of edacious riffs, all the while rhythms again providing a blistering onslaught. As the tempest continues so its creative turbulence and relentless barrage persists, every second also bringing a kaleidoscope of unexpected rancour and fertile imagination which itself breeds enterprise as melodically compelling as it is creatively mercurial and incalculable.
The Soothing Torture B-Sides is a release which makes you wonder how many thousands of attention deserving songs lay forgotten by their creators and undiscovered by the world. Thankfully Insense did not forget and now we rejoice.
The Soothing Torture B-Sides EP is released via Mas-Kina Recordings on April 8th.
Pete RingMaster 07/04/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review
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