The brutal death metal unleashed on Polish band Uerberos‘ debut album Tormented by Faith is as merciless as it is calculated. The technical frenzy of this piece of death metal is performed with perfect precision, aimed at the utter annihilation of all that stands in their way. Stylistically there is some overlap with their Polish brethren in Vader, but the sheer blistering aggression of their craft also reminds me of Hour of Penance, Desecravity, and Aborted at times. Guttural bellows rail against organised religion and the hypocrisy of so-called Christians: Not a new topic for death metal perhaps, but one that is particularly powerful and important for a band from the deeply Catholic nation of Poland. Their debut album Tormented By Faith is an astonishingly technical accomplishment, visceral and unforgiving, violent and grim.
Pummelling passages of crashing cymbals, rumbling riffs and frenetic guitar leads define the core of this album. The menacing, jarring riffs and chords of ‘Destroy the Enemy’ pave the way for spiralling guitar leads and fretwork. ‘Black Emissary’ packs a brutal groove with the central riff of its merciless, imperious death metal march. The drums are insanely fast and precise, the double-bass pedals battering away behind pitch harmonics and chaotic guitar leads. The song launches into a furious, groove in its second half, before resuming the downtuned auditory beating. The song’s final crescendo could sunder mountains. The unholy brutality of ‘My Lord, My Father’ is absolutely stunning, one of the most unrelentingly brutal and head-spinningly catchy death metal songs of recent memory. The song is comprised of just a few central riffs and motifs, rearranged in various ways, but you could miss all that because of the sheer quality and ferocity on display. ‘No Redemption’ features a brutal beatdown and countless infectious morbid riffs.
This is not an album for the weak of heart. The fury of these songs is almost completely unrelenting, songs seguing from one ridiculously heavy riff to the next. The stamina that must be required to perform these songs, on any of the instruments involved, is incredible. This is an unholy force of weaponised fury directed against Christianity and its hypocritical followers. ‘Live and Die Like Human’ nails its demand to the door in plain language. The underlying anti-Christian themes might not be a new idea for death metal, but Ueberos‘ country of Poland is deeply Catholic and conservative, and that re-contextualises the message. Thus the rage directed at Christianity is not against an impotent religion on its way out, but at a religion currently perpetuating oppression and domination in their home country. The authenticity of the violent rage within which this album is gripped is therefore unquestionable, and provides the fuel to the fire that maintains this machine.
The closing track ‘Respect For Death’ is a bruiser, violent and combative, a fitting end to a relentlessly heavy death metal album. The strength of all the bare fundamentals, the catchiness and heaviness of the riffs, the conviction of the message are all woven together through fundamentally strong songwriting. Tormented By Faith is impressive an impressive death metal record by any measure, but doubly so for a debut album. The album is heavy and technical but also memorable and invigorating, a bone-chilling battle cry and a convincing statement of intent.