Formed in 2000 as one of the first extreme metal bands to emerge from Dubai, U.A.E. and having supported legendary metal bands such as Metallica, Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Suffocation, Nervecell have become the most prominent band to arise from the Middle East and truly are the torchbearers for a Middle Eastern wave of metal. Delivering a unique blend of Middle Eastern death/thrash metal, and maintaining a reputation for highly energetic live performances.
‘Nervecell’ sound may have been described a lot of times, but for those new to the band, their sound combines huge guitar and bass tones with almost explosive sounding drums. Vocals are also huge sounding and could be described as a roar mixed with screams. Their sound is raw and aggressive and is no exception in this album.
Track-by-track PAST PRESENT TORTURE Album Review:
TRACK 1: Intro
Is slow and quite thrashy. About halfway through the song, they speed things up with a pounding, heavy riff that makes you wanna bang your head. There are many small, melodic guitar solos throughout the song, a massive introduction to what is coming throughout the album.
TRACK 2: Aadvent
The consistency of the drums is just as noticeable as the guitar, as there are differing tempos and solid beats. One thing I noticed about the riffs is that while being furious, they are still melodic. This is quite clear in this album. Towards the end, it features some great harmony lead work, displaying the band’s excellent musicianship. It has become one of my favorites on the album because of that part and the catchy chorus.
TRACK 3: Proxy War
The track starts off brutally right from the start and never lets go of your brain. The vocals are perfect and from the first note the destruction will totally surprise the listener if they are not aware of it. The songwriting is amazing. All drumming, guitar work, and bass are played with technical perfection and fit well together.
TRACK 4: D.N.A.
Shred metal, melodic death metal, and brutal death metal verses. Matching that kind of guitar harmonization and perfection with brutality is a difficult task that not many would be able to accomplish. This track has an unbelievable bridge that fits seamlessly with the song, but there is one in particular that stands out among all of them and contains one of the most well-played and best fitting chorus I have heard in some time. It has soaring scales, shred technicality, and heavy brutality all at the same time.
TRACK 5: Abyssviand
It begins with a distorted guitar melody that almost sounds ballad-like, then it suddenly jumps into absolutely brutal death metal before abruptly ending with undistorted guitar. Even if you are someone that has never really liked death metal, I assure you that ‘Abyssviand’ is a song any true metal fan will love.
TRACK 6: Hypnosis
This one’s pretty heavy and slower with a great triple time signature and that wave motion making you do the windmill instead of simple head banging! So we slowly get a scheme here, there’s a stronger emphasis on delivering an evil mood instead of showing any mind boggling technicality.
TRACK 7: Malice Within
The metalized ideas are mixed together with the melodies of the old standards. The result is not so much a novelty piece as a strange and fascinating experiment in extreme music that stands up well on its own… If you’re looking for the most unorthodox and challenging renditions of heavy riffs and brutal phrasing ever recorded, or just want to hear one of the more fascinating death metal concept records, this is what you’re looking for.
TRACK 8: Dawn Of Decimation
One of the most beautiful death metal masterpieces ever. It shows the natural progression from the primitive debut, through the next two songs, which are much more mature in style, while this one is a faultless work… Massive, incredibly well-structured.
TRACK 9: Habitual Deceit
A sense of eerie danger opens with the circular guitar riff. Descending into the maelstrom, the first minutes of the song go to an unstoppable road of speed metal inspiration, the vocals ascend and descend with mastery and explode into a beautiful bridge that leads to an infernal chorus. The cut-in-half segment is carefully placed to give an excellent variation and endow the return of the infernal chorus in the final seconds with a cathartic vibe.
TRACK 10: Maqabre
Growls with fierce attitude over a mellow wall of darkness, and the main riffing induces a more hellish framework in which the duo plays with careful balance. With brutal singing, he commands the attack until the melodic death metal carnage concludes in an epic constructed jam with a perfectly executed song structure.
TRACK 11: Tree Of Lies
Another killer addition to the track listing is this twisting progressive song. Wonderful guitar work, with those elastic melodic riffs inspired by folk and progressive death metal rituals matching the razor-sharp soloing. In short, this is one of the best songs of this piece.
TRACK 12: Treading Beneath
The melodies are clear, vibrating, and demonic at the same time in the chorus, while the verses sound like a depressing lullaby. The morose slower segments feel a bit disjointed compared to the explosive death metal doom extravaganza, but this is another good cut with such a great low bottom sound.
TRACK 13: Past, Present…Torture
Unlike the previous songs, the ending track is welcomed with a slower riff, but one that is way more embellished with some beautiful progressive curls and twists. Around the middle of this trip, the “proggy” elements circumvent the space but are then paired along with a couple of space harmonies that welcome sudden aggressive punches in a tension-and-release exercise. Soaring high, the progressive nature of this track does not shy away from the hooks of the vocals, which go hand in hand with the main riffing. The excellent song to go through the whole album to get to it.
This work is massive, I repeat… MASSIVE! The composition is twisted, progressive, and vicious. Do not let the haunting intro deceive the initial listening, because the intensive drumming segment of the verses pays off to a relentless attack of death metal burbling darkness. The long structure of the songs does not push it to mediocrity; instead, the band carefully selected the pieces and times with a clockwork-level precise song-crafting to adjust every riff and structure to the optimal form.
They definitely earn 77.5/100
–REVIEW BY: Maurice Semaan
Available in CD, Vinyl/LP & Digital:
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