The fact that there’s at least one new demo from a promising extreme metal band every week is not just job security for me. It’s really quite mind-blowing when you think about it. It’s almost like, statistically, a new metal band is formed every 13 seconds or something. Of course, I just fabricated that number, but there’s at least a new metal band every seven days, or else this column wouldn’t be approaching it’s sixth year of steady existence. Here’s where it gets interesting though. We’ve proven there may be a new demo every week, but how often does a band like Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based death/grind trio Torsion come along?
Torsion’s sound overwhelms, crushes like a composite of the heaviest and most lethal components of death metal and grindcore, but there’s something inherently unique and memorable at work within their songwriting, too. It’s in the transitory riffs and the details that keep these massive pieces held together.
According to the band, who all three answered the interview questions, “Torsion arose from the ashes of our drummer’s and guitarist’s previous band, which played a pretty standard mixture of grind and hardcore. The songs we wrote for what would become Torsion were both the natural evolution of the sound and a new musical direction with a greater emphasis on cacophony and more calculated song structures. We met Ethan [bassist] through the house show scene in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and wound up joining another active band, Toxic Culture, with him. One day at practice, we mentioned to him that we were looking for a bass player for our new band, and he immediately hopped on board then and there. At th[at] point, Torsion had somewhat existed for about a year, but the pandemic hit soon after. We recorded the EP over the course of 2020, and finally played our first shows after being a band for two years, which have been phenomenal by all standards.”
They came up with their name because, “[o]ne of our members was once rushed to the hospital in the middle of experiencing testicular torsion and nearly left the hospital with one less ball. Choosing to name our band after his nightmarish bodily experience was equal parts an inside joke and wanting a name for a death metal band that conjures images of twisting and unrelenting pain.”
The band goes on to describe far less painful experiences, like writing their demo. “The first two tracks were almost completely written by the time Ethan joined, with the third track being about fifty percent written,” they tell us. “We consider ourselves to be a riff-oriented band. Writing the material for the EP consisted of Gray writing a rough, guitar-only skeleton, bouncing ideas back and forth with Jack as a collection of riffs became a song, and finally Ethan added finishing touches. This process is likely to change however because we will be adding a second guitar player from another sick Tennessee metal band.” Some sick news there!
Torsion’s self-titled EP sounds neither cavernous or too dry like some throwback death-thrash demo. It really hits, slams and crushes, but still sounds somehow natural, like not overly distorted.
They say, “We have no interest in relying on nostalgia or the coming and going of trends to make our music memorable. We want every song we write to be vicious & unpredictable. We wrote this release on a song-by-song basis with the intention that they would be able to each stand individually as engaging tracks. As the entire planet knows, 2020 was a chaotic time. Recording the EP was an uphill battle. At the end of the day, we wound up powering through the recording sessions when we could and crossed our fingers that the final result would be something worth sharing. We are flattered and thrilled at the response thus far.”
Regarding their Napalm Death cover, the band says, “We knew that we wanted to include a cover in the EP but we were having a hard time deciding on what to cover until Ethan suggested ‘Unchallenged Hate.’ From a stylistic standpoint, that song meshes well with our originals, and while we stand behind the message of the song, it was necessary to slightly alter the last line of lyrics, for obvious reasons, without detracting from the meaning and integrity of the original. We hope fellow fans of Napalm Death enjoy our take on ‘Unchallenged Hate’ as much as we do playing it. You can draw a straight line from any modern band that plays blast beats back to Repulsion, Discordance Axis, and Napalm Death.”
If you check out the lyrics, you’ll notice Torsion’s songs all register as misanthropic and anti-life. So what inspires these themes for the band?
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s hard to look at the the world now and not respond with misanthropy, contempt, and disgust,” admit Torsion. “All hope for a better world fades as the limits of human cruelty, apathy, and indifference are surpassed every day. Our lyrical themes are an indulgence in outward aggression. That being said, the third song, ‘Oath of Iron,’ is loosely inspired by Berserk, written by the late Kentaro Miura.”
As far as their favorite song on the demo, Torsion say: “It changes. We aren’t a one-trick pony, so every song on the EP has its own distinct feel to it. Every time we play these songs, we find subtle new ways to play them that makes us hear them with new ears.”
Meanwhile, if you’ve been trying to place the intro . . . “The intro is a sample from Christopher Young’s score of Hellraiser,” says the band. “We are all huge fans of the horror genre, with Hellraiser being our guitarist’s all-time favorite horror movie. We love also atmospheric and cinematic intro tracks, and that sample fits the vibe of the rest of the record and sets the correct tone.”
As of this last night Torsion have physical copies of their EP available! “We have cassette tapes available over at our Bandcamp,” the band says. “The best way to contact us is also through our Bandcamp. Readers can also expect shirts and patches available online soon.”
Meanwhile, Torsion show no sign of stopping any time soon. In fact it seems like this singular band is truly only just getting started. “We’ve been hard at work writing new material that will feature double guitar attack and only the most depraved, unhinged death metal we can write,” the band promises. “Folks in the Southeastern US can also expect us in their cities before too long. In the meantime, our members also play in other bands that have music available: Ethan plays drums in Wrekt (wrekt.bandcamp.com), Jack plays drums in Knoll (knollvhs.bandcamp.com), and Gray plays guitar in Moru (morutn.bandcamp.com). Cheers!”