Torche: Restarter (Relapse) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Feb 24, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Florida-based rock band Torche has always confounded expectations. They usually are lumped in with the metal crowd, despite having many pop- and mainstream rock-influenced elements. One is the commitment to soaring, melodic vocals, courtesy of frontman Stephen Brooks. Another is the occasional big, major-key anthem (not very “metal”) and the bright, cartoonish visual aesthetic surrounding the band. So why does Wikipedia refer to them as “sludge metal” or “stoner metal?” Well, it’s because Torche also happens to be very good at building music from massive, killer guitar riffs.

Each of Torche’s past albums has been released on a different label. Restarter is their first for Relapse, a notable metal label, and it shows up with heavier riffs and slower, bigger hooks. “Annihilation Affair” opens the tracklist with a signature crashing guitar sequence and eventually becomes a repeated base note, rhythmically manipulated via crashing drums and clever vocal harmonies, before dissolving into noise. It’s bold, and it sets the stage for an album that can sound at turns repetitive and utterly monolithic.

Ultimately, Restarter is an important album for Torche, but a new listener would probably be better served going to earlier releases Meanderthal or Harmonicraft. Torche goes deeper on Restarter, but they also round off some of the weird edges that make them such an interesting band. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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