Shadow of the Torturer Rely on Guerilla Tactics to Spread Doom
Seattle’s heaviest export, Shadow of the Torturer, are no strangers to change. The current incarnation of the band is comprised of three hardy scene veterans who’ve all done time in other bands (Aldebaran, H.C. Minds, North American Bison, the Fartz), and its original lineup boasted current and ex-members of Yob, Engorged, Fall of the Bastards and Oakhelm.
After original drummer Gabe was stricken with severe tendonitis and carpal tunnel and disconnected with the band, frontman Mike Brown packed up his amps and fuzz pedals and moved north to Portland to continue Shadow of the Torturer with a new bunch of doomhaulers. After some band drama and a whole lot of writing on Brown’s and others’ part, Shadow of the Torturer’s debut LP was created. Brown elaborates, “I recorded the ‘Marching into Chaos’ track myself and had my buddy in Portland master the whole batch of songs. I sent them to Marcel and he began the process of putting out the record and I moved to Seattle in 2009.”
As anyone with half an eardrum left can tell after suffering through the first three seconds of a Shadow of the Torturer song, this is not pretty music. It’s not progressive or overly technical or accessible in any way; this is filthy, raw, misanthropic fuzz, slow as blackstrap molasses and oozing hate and distortion. Clearly, this is not the type of band you’re going to see playing a Live Nation venue any time soon.
Brown spilled his guts to Noisecreep, declaring, “We avoid doing the five-band lineup mega-shows just to try and get on bigger billed shows. We would rather play for punks and crusties at house parties. We do not want to pack an hours worth of ultra doom into a 25-minute set; it is just not in the spirit of the type of music to try and meld with bigger bands or try to fit in at all for that matter. Doom is a retarded sex fiend that should be kept hidden from the world! If we play with a bigger band, it is because that band has been listening to our record and has asked us to play. We only intend to f—ing crush that stage and have pity for the poor band that has to play in the steaming crater we leave behind,” he spits. “We would rather play well after the weak and lame have gone home. We only want to play for true doom lords.”
‘DIY or die’ may be a hackneyed mantra for many a directionless underground warrior, but to a band like Shadow of the Torturer, they’re solid words to live by. “All the people who played with me in this project were the best possible choices for any band but because of a lack of understanding what was going on with Gabe, it just never was able to materialize until now. I think all of us have been members of great bands that do not have any sway in the way we are promoted,” Brown muses. “You begin to feel like you are just making dollars for scensters who are not really into this kind of music. We as a group have decided to be a more guerilla tactic band, meaning that we put out excellent music on our own terms and we try to get merch and doom directly to metalheads without overcharging or capitalizing.”