Staten Island quartet Tombstoner released an EP last year which contained a track with the memorable title Filth Hole; pleasing though that little five tracker was, it didn’t really prepare you for the gut-bucket glory ride that is their debut full-length, Victims of Vile Torture.

You probably understand that, here at Sentinel Daily HQ, we receive literally thousands of death metal albums submitted for review consideration every day of the year; after a while, even though we strive to give as many a fair listen as is humanly possible, the sheer overload on the ears means that most end up as part of the morass of sound myself and my fellow reviewers are asked to wade through by slave driving editor Scott Adams.

All of which goes to show just how good an album VoVT is, as, as I so often do when listening to albums for the first time, I put the record on and then promptly forgot who and what I was listening to. But then-


That’s right. Repeatedly, all the way through first contact with Victims of Vile Torture, I was forced to stop what I was doing and actually sit and marvel at what I was hearing. Whether it was the infectious, hardcore-style backing vocals on Breaking Point, the coruscating early Machine Head meets Slayer mayhem of Grave Dancer, the churning old school death of Armageddon or the frankly mental and most unexpected symphonic touches strewn all around epic closer Trepidation, this is an album that quite simply delivers the goods in relentless fashion from start to finish.

Brothers Thomas (bass) and Daniel (rhythm guitar) Megill lock in with drummer Jason Quinones to create one of the most watertight rhythm units I’ve heard in a while, over which lead player Jesse Quinones (that’s right! Tombstoner comprises TWO SETS OF BROTHERS!) unleashes razor sharp, intelligent solos with precision and ease on every track. If sibling rivalry exists between these blokes, you’d never know it when confronted with the slick, seamless wall of sound they confront the listener with at every turn.

As noted, these days albums of this style rarely pick up the listener by the scruff of the neck from the get-go and demand your undivided attention, but Victims.. really does just that, and I can see this album in a lot of end-of-year best of lists. If you love death metal, you need this album in your collection.

Victims of Vile Torture releases on July 30th.