When it comes to technicality and brutality, Kansas's Torn the Fuck Apart have been decimating their way right up the putrid food chain. Since forming in 2004, the group has unleashed a small handful of material that has made plenty of waves in the underground. 2006 brought the Skinned Alive EP, followed by the 2009 debut full-length album Gods of Gore, and another three years later the follow-up ...the Dissection of Christ. The outfit managed to remain fairly consistent until 2009 with the addition of guitarist Nick Yeates, turning them into a five piece until vocalist Jeremy Langner departed in 2013, bringing it back to a four member monster with guitarist Michael Langner taking over vocal duties. Two years since their most recent slab of violent complexities have passed, and we're now staring at their third full-length album, Sexually Transmitted Torture, which is being handled by Ossuary Industries. But is this as disgusting as their previous recordings, or is a far less engaging experience?

First of all, there is a heavy dose of Groove Metal and even Hardcore found when the technical prowess of its members isn't vividly on display. Sexually Transmitted Torture actually kicks off this way, but wasted little time treading into show-off realms of later Brain Drill at times, blending the two into utterly brutal assaults that leave you unsure of whether you're coming or going. "I Can't Believe She Got in the Van with Me" utilizes audio samples of a very vocal woman having intercourse to kick off the dark and brooding start that trudges along as if heading to its own demise. About a minute and a half in, everything starts to get complicated, even throwing in some carnival-grade leads from time to time that seem to exist only to mess with you and your perception of where this one is headed. "Sexually Transmitted Torture" never lets up either. The fast paced performance and tight Neoclassical riffs that fill out the main verses sound like something torn straight out of the depths of Hell itself at times, only calming down to add some blunt, less improbable elements that amplify the impact, such as the breakdown about two minutes in and the richer bass support to the groovier material towards the end.

While the more complex material easily grabs your attention, it can have a hard time holding on to it due to how thin it can be. The more intense, the less backbone there seems to be. This is where less intricate tracks like "55 Gallon Crypt" fill the void a bit. This one puts a good deal of focus on timing at first, but the main verses are essentially chugging guitar patterns and similar marching drums, not to mention a few chaotic bridges like around thirty seconds in that allow the bass a shining moment. But what follows is catchy groove-laden Death Metal that is executed superbly. The hollow snares continue to stand out, distracting from the richer presence most of the time, but thankfully are far from anything detrimental, not to mention rightly ignored during the dark and aquatic sounding guitar solo. There's also what sounds like a lighter slam that is meant to bridge this world with the nightmarish one full of complication and precise riffing before wrapping up with some Dying Fetus grade attitude.

But, of everything this album brings into the mix, it's the various atmospheres and even emotion that truly stand the test of time. Yes, complicated patterns are one thing, but then you happen upon tracks like "Sulfuric Semen Skank Dunk Tank", which just boast elements that immediately become an orgasm to the ears for any listener. Things start off as brutal as usual thanks to complex grooves and punishing guitar work, but there are times where the mood shifts to something Deceased or early The Black Dahlia Murder would be guilty of thanks to the hooks utilized, but taking on a more unique trait with the use of epic Neoclassical/Heavy Metal movements. These are largely incorporated in guitar solos, such as on this track, but the big difference on this particular cut is that what follows said solo is a cold, haunting eighties passage of depression with cleaner guitars and rich echo effect to amplify the atmosphere established to a whole other level that is rivalled only by the depressing conclusion on "Inserted Vaginal Castration Device".

Sexually Transmitted Torture is a superb example of what truly violent and maddening US Death Metal can become. It's just unfortunate that most of the insanely technical segments come through so thin. Sure, it does kind of play into the group's Hardcore tendencies that appear from time to time, but you do find yourself banging your head along more to the richer groove oriented material more than the high level of showing off that occurs on in some songs. This is forgiveable for the most part thanks to how insane Torn the Fuck Apart ends up making this release by incorporating rich melodies, vile audio samples that suit the appropriate tone, not to mention epic Heavy Metal elements that help strengthen moving atmospheres and emotional passages. Torn the Fuck Apart will leave you damn near like their name says with Sexually Transmitted Torture, an album that is nothing short of a memorable gem that those looking for unique and violent music absolutely must hear.

Review originally composed for Apoch's Metal Review