Torment was formed by Simon Brand and Kevin Haynes in late 1985. Simon Brand had visited a gig of The Joint Jumpers in Bristol earlier that year, a rockin´ outfit, that was fronted by Kevin Haynes. The two fellows kept in touch. Simon Brand wasn´t an active part of the rockin´ circuit anymore since he was asked to leave Frenzy the year before and Kevin Haynes was also looking for an opportunity to start a new musical outfit. Consequently, a new band was born. Brought about by a lack of other opportunities, they asked Sean Holder- who was also part of the Joint Jumpers- to fill in for the vacant spot at the doghouse bass. The only thing left to find was a band name, which was finally found on the flip side of the classic 12´´ EP release of Robot Riot , a recording from Simon Brand´s days with Frenzy: TORMENT.
By November 1985 the band was already up and running. The trio started to rehearse in Sean Holder´s garage and wrote down some songs of their own. Among those early tracks were Uncle Sam, Rockjet and Death Trail. They also hired a manager in Nutty Dave, who finally organised two gigs for the band in Brighton on the 23rd December and another gig in Bristol on Christmas eve. The two shows also included some other relatively newcomers of the scene with The Long Tall Texans and the Coffin Nails respectively. After the second gig, Kevin and Simon decided to sack Sean, who was promptly replaced by Tony Biggs. Tony- who later eventually joined The Rimshots- was the original bass player of The Firebirds— the band that was Simon Brand´s first musical outfit in the very early eighties. But that was just another short-lived affair.
In 1986 the Torment thing really started to thrive. A demo tape was accorded to Roy Williams from Nervous Records, who showed interest in releasing some stuff. Simon Crowfoot, an old mate from Simon Brand, had taken over the double bass duties and more gigs were held, too.
In the spring of 1986 Nervous Records released a compilation album entitled Zorch Factor-One, that included—besides an old Frenzy track from the 12´´ EP Robot Riot (All Alone) — a bunch of new talent. Torment also made its record debut with a two track appearance. My Dream is a funny song about that sort of girls, that only appears in dreams. The other song —The Source—broached the issue of arguing Psychobilly/ Neorockabilly vs. Authentic Rockabilly.
Torment also had a three track appearance on the Stomping At The Klub Foot compilation album series and released the four track 12´´ EP » Mystery Men»— in the same year—, but have been most noticed for their debut LP Psyclops Carnival, which hit the record shops in the summer of 1986 .
The album was recorded at Diamond Studios in two days and produced by Roy Williams and the trio. The album proved to be one of the genre´s true classics. To specify the impact, that the album has had on Psychobilly, I ´ve added this excerpt from Craig Brackenridge´s book «Let´s Wreck-Psychobilly Flashbacks From the Eighties & Beyond «, taken from Chapter 4:The Song Remains Insane-Early Psychobilly Classics:
«…As The Psychobilly scene really began to establish itself on vinyl, speeding over the horizon came two other groundbreaking debuts from Torment and Demented Are Go which pushed the genre onto new heights of composition and further depths of depravity. I had seen and heard little of Torment when I bought a copy of their debut platter in 1986.
«Psyclops Carnival» seemed a bizarre title and it looked a little different to many of the psycho albums released up to that point, with its stark black & white imagery and sombre tone. After giving it a first spin I was initially unimpressed as it lacked a certain boot-stomping immediacy but as I continued to play it the tracks really grew on me. Like many of the songs on The Guana Batz debut, there were many lyrics expressing personal concerns and steadfastly avoiding what were then psycho-standard themes such as horror, graveyards, getting pissed and mental patients. While I do not intend to get all chin-strokingly philosophical here, it can not be denied that Torment offered another level of intelligent songwriting, mostly from the pen of Simon Brand, along with yet another radical reworking of the traditional twangy geetar, drums and double-bass line-up…
… Torment were one of the many excellent Psychobilly bands which I felt could have had major success had they continued, weathered the quiet years, and been offered the opportunity to cash in on the type to many Yank and Aussie bands since the late Nineties. They really struck out on the UK psycho scene with a distinct image, well crafted songs with strong lyrical contend and a really unique sound.»