TORMENTED/BOMBS OF HADES, split (2011 War Anthem)
Designed like a slasher movie poster from the 80s, this is a very classy cover. The massive, monocular, slightly bloody skull glares evilly, no doubt irritated by the tiny cobweb affixed to his slimy peeper. He’s got no jaw, but that just leaves more room for the songtitles, without creating a need to obscure skullparts. Basically, everything about this cover works as an homage, while still succeeding brilliantly as a big dumb skull. An unmitigated triumph of BDSery! Bravo!
Tormented are more or less straight-up Earache 1990: Entombed’s Left Hand Path with a faint but present trace of Hellbastard’s Natural Order, at least on their original track here, “Repulsion Fix”. This song is less ambitious than really anything Entombed was doing back in the day, but Tormented do their work briskly and professionally and “Repulsion Fix” is a very fun tune. Their second track is a straightfoward and fairly pointless cover of Kreator’s “Tormentor”. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the first couple Kreator albums in any case, but I think the appeal is inextricably bound up in the energy and naivety that only earnest young men can deliver. Bombs of Hades are a grimier, grittier band although the basic template is still late 80s Stockholm. More Unleashed than Entombed, perhaps. I find this willful primitivism unappealing in the main, but BoH aren’t a bad band at all. Their original tune, in addition to the obvious Stockholm nods, also strongly reminds me of several songs on Sodom’s overlooked Tapping the Vein album. Maybe this is a coincidence, but if it’s not, I at least salute the band for that. They round out the split with a cover of Loud Pipe’s “Clean Your Head.” I’ve never heard of that band, but from the sounds of it, they were just some kind of D-beat band, making this cover even less essential and interesting than “Tormentor”.
— Friar Johnsen