Saturday, 28 April 2012

Review: Torche - Harmonicraft

 The sense of eclecticism when considering the formation and backgrounds of Miami metallers Torche is quite incredible. It's seen the bringing together of four people who have played in sludge metal bands, grindcore bands and screamo bands to create the perfect mix of heaviness and melodies. Having released three albums now, they've used this balance of heavy riffs and film songwriting to make themselves artists capable of delivering some of the perfect music for rock fans, so in that sense they're quite underrated. However, now that they've returned with Harmonicraft, an album with one of the best album covers ever it's now time for them to really make a name for themselves and move up to the big league.

 Torche have always been very much a stand out band in the realms of stoner rock and though it's not known very well right now, they're the stoner rock band that will have the most appeal to fans of more pop based rock music since Queens of the Stone Age found themselves a permanent fixture on MTV. Or MTV Rocks as it is these days.
 So rather than focusing on the often doom and gloom factors that come with the sludge metal that Torche so effortlessly manage to perfect, Harmonicraft actually carries a more uplifting atmosphere across it's thirteen tracks, seen from the very opener Letting Go, a song that remains incredibly upbeat through it's delivery of hardened riffs dripping with distortion and fuzzy feedback delivered by guitarists/vocalists Steve Brooks and Andrew Elstner. This kind of performance makes it way across the album in Kicking's spacey atmospherics and the pummeling levels of sweetness that comes from the guitar work of Snakes Are Charmed, with emphasis on the "charm". It's the most poppy and joyous that sludge metal has ever sounded and while that's a concept that many sludge enthusiasts will disagree with, the inclusion of hooks and more pop friendly charm is a much more pulsing feature on the album that really gives it it's own spicing flare.
 It's actually pretty amazing how strong this upbeat nature is. It's there in the frantic songs that simply tear away, seen in the rush of ecstasy of Walk it Off and Sky Trials or the spaced out sludge of Roaming and the extraordinary Solitary Traveler  that in their delicacy and textured guitar work make the listening experience more grand and beautiful than words can describe.
 So, as I say, it's time for Torche to move into the big league because Harmonicraft is an album that everyone needs to listen to it. The performance is magnificent with songwriting standing strong at levels of perfection with adrenaline filled and chilled out moments creating a constant dynamic. But it's so much more than that. So intense is the levels of positivity and unconfined happiness, that when you listen to the album, there is no pain. There is no suffering anywhere in this world. There's only beauty, warmth and memories of happier times in life, of friendships and childhood wonder. Any band can make a brilliant album but on Harmonicraft, Torche have taken things a step further. A band that has come from sludge metal, grindcore and screamo backgrounds have made an album that makes life worth living.

Torche's Harmonicraft is out now via Volcom Entertainment.

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