“Commitment To Excellence”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Here’s a tornado that’s a little different than the ones that plague my stomping grounds of the Midwest. I recall hearing something by them a few years back and not being too impressed. Well, “Commitment To Excellence” is not the greatest thing I’ve heard but there’s some good stuff lurking within this rough hewn slab of thrash.

The band certainly has obtained the services of some top notch guest artists to help out here. Nile’s Karl Sanders, Immolation’s Ross Dolan, Pro-pain’s Adam Phillips and ace shredder Glenn Drover all show up during the course of the album. I also have to say Tornado has a rather pleasing rough and raw sound, with no digital wanking around. There are times when this could have sounded a bit sharper but in this world full of autotuned garbage, there’s nothing wrong with a garage style production.

The band is led by singer Superstar Joey Severance and despite the arrogant “Superstar” nickname, this guy is far from a great vocalist, especially with his Slipknot meets Rob Zombie makeup. His voice is rather plain but he at least puts energy and force into it. Tornado comes across as a modern day “crossover” band, which is confirmed by their cover of S.O.D.’s “United Forces”. Much of their music is in that vein but there are occasional surprises. “The Flight of Yuri Gagarin” is a great song that starts with a catchy melody and then breaks into some killer thrash riffs. The highlight of the album! Ross Dolan lends his superb death metal grumbles to “Spirit and Opportunity”, elevating that track while “Endless Forms of Torment” is a pretty catchy number. The meat of the album is to be found in the middle, as the opening and ending tracks are the weakest. “A Minute Of Nothing” is almost nu-thrash while “In The Chapel of Rest” is too long of a song for these guys and features unfortunate spoken word lyrics.

Yet the energy of the album as a whole is infectious and it’s a fun listen. Final analysis: Tornado does what they want and hope you get sucked up in their funnel cloud of fury.