TORMENT (1994-1998) was a Death Metal band from Lohja, Finland. After releasing two official demo tapes, they decided to change band's name to Velvet Masque when the course of music developed to more melodic direction. Written and posted by Houre Noir.
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TORMENT - DEMO TAPE 1996
Pure Virkkala Death Metal!!!
The usually story: bunch of long-haired school kids started up a band in order to play loud and badass death metal. If I recall it right, Torment was found in 1994, thought the band did exist before that with different name and line up.
It was very special time in my life. All I wanted to do at that point, was to play music with my good friends. Well, that was pretty much all we did!
We did practise a lot and eventually in 1996 we went to Sound Ateljee studio to record our first untitled cassette demo. We were 15-16 year old headbangers at the time. Demo was professionally pressed and it was sold out pretty quickly.
When demo ´96 came out people had hard time to believe, that it was me singing with that voice. They asked me questions like:
"Is this really you?"
"What FX did you used on vocals?"
I was pretty amazed how little people knew, because no Electronic Harmonizer was used at all. Only basic reverb & delay here and there.
After we played couple of gigs at local band events, peoples doubts somehow mystically disappeared. Some older guys from Lohja scene even gave me nickname Little-Barnes (after Chris Barnes from Cannibal Corpse / Six Feet Under).
I surely was pleased by that!
TORMENT - DEMO TAPE 1997
The Second Demo Tape Of The Young Death Metal Maniacs.
Year 1996 went by and after some gigs and one successful demo under our belt, we returned to Sound Ateljee studio to record our second demo tape.
This time songs were considerably more technical, progressive and brutal indeed. Our song writing skills had improved a lot and I started to sound a little bit more like the vocalist I am today.
I had such a good time singing these songs to tape.
I had a dynamic microphone in my hand and the music was played loud from the PA-speakers in the recording room. I was moshing, growling and screaming my heart out! This was nothing like at the demo´96 recording sessions, where I had to stand still in front of the condenser microphone with studio headphones on.
Again demo was pressed professionally and we had to take a second press from it, since the first one was sold out immediately.
We received some good reviews and there´s one I remember specifically. I think it was released on Suomi Finland Perkele magazine's demo column and its translation goes something like this: "Torment's demo tape is the perfect background music for the Saturday nights random act of violence". Can you imagine how awesome it was for 16-17 year old metal kids to receive a review like that. It simply meant everything! Like back in the days, it still makes me smile.
TRAINING TAPE SIDE-B 1996
TRAINING TAPE SIDE-A 1995
The Summer Of Torment And Candies
In summer of 1996, Torment was booked to be a headliner for an open-air concert. The concert was held on a baseball field located in Virkkala. It was planned to be a big event and everyone was so excited about it, "Yeah man! We will definitely come to see your show!". Everybody was coming to see us, and when I say everybody, I really mean everybody.
We did practice a lot and I can say without a doubt, that we were well prepared to perform a unforgettable show. Well, it turned out to be unforgettable indeed...
Finally the big day came up and we took all our music gears and headed for the concert area. We immediately noticed that there was no stage! There was only this small half tent, size about 3x2 meters. We would have to play on the ground, nothing but sand under our feet. After a lot of cursing, we somehow managed to fit our gears in the tent. We did soundcheck and waited for the show to begin. Our opening act Herodes played both of their songs "Tuskan Pasaus" and "Rotting Pile Of Gore".
Suddenly it started to rain like hell. It was like a biblical deluge! Or maybe it was more like a series of showers, but it sure did rain enough to keep people indoors. The show must go on, so we started to play anyway. The audience consisted of only a handful of hardcore headbangers. I´m pretty sure, that one third of them were in Herodes.
So there we were, playing under a small half tent in the rain. Small crowd, us and gear did all get wet. I though, it can´t get any worse than this, but how wrong I was...
Because the tent was so small, we had to play very close next to each other. I was moshing like a maniac and in some point I noticed, that my hair was wrapped around my friends guitar. No matter how hard I tried I couldn´t get it off by myself. I was pretty relieved when one helpful metalhead from the audience came to rescue. Guys didn´t stop playing and I certainly didn´t stop singing during this period. Sort of a tragicomic Spinal tap moment, like next thing that happened.
So, our set was only about half an hour long. We didn´t have that many songs then and we played them all, plus two or three covers. Those covers were Paradise Lost: Last time (first song I practiced with Torment), some Dismember song I can´t recall and cherry on the cake, Green Day: When I come Around. Like every metalheads out there knows, you cannot have a real death metal concert without that song. I refused to sing it, because it would sound ridicules (or absolutely brilliant) with death metal growling. During this song I was moshing in the crowd.
We finished our set and some baseball mom, who was selling candies to our minor audience, came to us and asked: "Can you guys play some more, because I haven´t sold all the candies yet". I thought, "I´m a death metal singer, not a goddamn candy store poster boy!".
After a brief discussion we decided to play the same set again.
Now think about it: is it really a good business idea to come to death metal concert and try to make money by selling candies? Who am I to judge, but at least that time she couldn´t manage to sell all her candies. I still find this whole thing to be freaking hilarious! Maybe she should try to expand her business to Tuska Festival next year...
Basically this gig was the perfect example of situation where expectations don´t match with reality.
After all it still was a great experience, kind of, and one heck of a lesson to learn about playing gigs. You have to be prepared for anything.
Later that night, something very special happened to me, but that´s an another story.
- Houre Noir