Review Summary: A good effort by a young band somewhat dissappoints
Torche is a band I really want to love. Everything about them spells out something I would really enjoy: heavy droning chords, doom-like, stoner song structures, and a mix of melodic pop oriented metal. Try as I may, though, I just cannot honestly say this album is that good. It has its highs and its lows, as any album does, but by the end of the album, it really does just boil down to another stoner metal album.
A good phrase to describe Torche
was something I came across when reading an article on them. It was stoner pop, which is exactly what this is. It’s Stoner Metal gone Black Album so to speak. This little concoction is sort of cool…until you get to the later part of the album, when it just starts to sound forced and pushed, save the final, amazing closer. Safe
isn’t even later in the album (second track to be precise) and it already sounds like it was written in 15 minutes. Vampyro
has an overt sense of “pop” and not enough crushing stoner metal to create a good balance. This problem is felt in multiple places around the album, making it sound awkward. I found myself asking “Ouch, why did you throw that
riff in that part?” many a time in the short 29 minutes that the album amounts to.
A redeeming factor to Torche
is when they do make the heavier, pounding sludge songs. Torche has most certainly perfected this art, not so much on the lighter elements, but the heavy aspects they have down. The album opener Charge Of The Brown Recluse
is just a flat out heavy song, and by far the best on the album. It’s drawn out chugs and overall crashing sound crash over you like that of strong waves, hitting you one after another, holding you under. This is the only song on the album that is completely in-your-face and 100% heavy, so savor it. Scattered elsewhere are fractions of this attitude, but track 1 is the best example of what Torche
could have been. Post-Metal ballad The Last Word
sounds like it could have easily been written by Pelican while upbeat Fire
could simply be a Motorhead song done right. For most of the failing elements of the album, there are reciprocals that help out the overall appeal of it.
The vocals are really something that needs to be dealt with. Vocalist Steven Brooks, to be quite frank, has a voice more suited for a 70’s English Punk band or one of the thousands of bands jumping on the recent boom of pop rock. His accented lyrics and effect-laden vocals aggravate me to no end. They really are not at all suited for the type of music Torche play. Had this been an instrumental album, I would be farting with glee at its sound, but sadly, the vocals are a major downside to an otherwise pretty decent instrumental album.
The last epic track on Torche
is the aptly named The Last Word
. This song is almost as amazing as Charge Of The Brown Recluse
, but not in the same pounding fashion. The song is focused more on creating an Isis-type atmosphere, plucked melodies soaring until the grinding climax where heavily detuned, distorted machines kick in and for a minute or so, whip you up in a storm of brutality, only to calm back down in sort of an “eye” before the next hurricane arrives. At this point, The Last Word
significantly brings the album up from otherwise being a snorefest from tracks 2-8. It makes the entire album worth listening to. It also makes everything seem to sound better, believe it or not. The worst tracks sound a bit better, with the best sounding incredible. For this reason, I kind of like Torche
, despite it being vastly disappointing from its hype and somewhat annoying with its downfalls.
Torche is young band who I am sure with their next album will capitalize on their positives and correct their mistakes. Although their debut was really an experimental stab at what Stoner/Sludge/Doom/Whatever metal, I am confident that their next album will be a force to be reckoned with. And hey, the only way to go is up.
A good effort at revolutionizing the sound and making something fresh
Charge Of The Brown Recluse
and The Last Word
could be considered genre classics
Got the formula of balance right in some places, and when they did, it sounded amazing
Annoying vocals and lyrics that do not fit the music in the slightest
Tracks 2-8 are all mediocre to poor
The pop-type sound gets sort of old
Charge Of The Brown Recluse
The Last Call