It seems the new wave of Thrash Metal that started a decade ago with the likes of Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust is alive and well. Prophetic Deceiver is Tormenter’s second full-length, and it continues in the tradition carved out by their west-coast brethren in Hatchet and Fueled by Fire: hyper-aggressive, go-for-the-throat playing done at insane velocities and produced dryly and violently. While some of the music in this style has been of a high-calibre and will doubtlessly become masterpieces in the genre (like Hatchet’s Dawn of the End) some releases haven’t been able to match up. This is the case with Prophetic Deceiver.
What the best modern albums in thrash were able to do that Tormentor didn’t was to bring in light and shade and humour and dynamics into their wholly uncompromising speed metal style. When you think of Municipal Waste’s Hazardous Mutation, you think of the fun side of the band, and which made it clear from the beginning that record’s primary purpose was to have fun and get the listener in on all the stupid jokes. Hatchet’s Dawn of the End awed the listener with its technical brilliance and melodic delivery despite it being possibly one of the fastest, cleanest thrash albums of the last 15 years. In listening to Tormenter, one doesn’t feel a true sense of fun or a sense of awe.
The musicianship in Prophetic Deceiver is fantastic; the whole band is out for blood, firing on all cylinders, but every song seems very serious and somehow relatively hookless. While it all makes an enjoyable listen, there are no real reasons to revisit the experience. With so many fantastic thrash albums having come out in the past few years from old and new bands alike, Prophetic Deceiver, for all of its merits, just doesn’t have enough going on to distinguish itself from the pack. If thrash is your great passion then this album is still a fantastic place to spend your metal dollar, but don’t come in looking for the next classic.