by Craig Regala
Dude at work asked “Is it metal?” I said nothing, I just wanted him to hear it first cuz he’ll probably like it, no reason for me to throw a “well… kinda” out there. Torche certainly have plenty of completely up-to-date “ker-chugga,” but the plainspoken melodic vocals aligned with the semi-doom crush via melancholy sparkle is more mid-90s AmRep, so I see Helmet and Slint more than metal qua metal as rootage. Cut in a bit of King’s X, Soundgarden, or Saigon Kick for sweetening/smoothness/prog woozling/art damage, all while tracing the family line to King Crimson, Trouble, The Melvins, or Gone. No retro feel about it; just in the hard rock lineage from The Who to Mastodon. A place where many stoner rock folks call home. Hey, it’s a big house, so c’mon in.
The vocal line on “Without a Sound” is definately in Helmet’s “Unsung” territory with a bit of the aforementioned pensive sweetening, back to head Helmet Page Hamilton’s roots in the three guitar no singin’ alt.noise.yummy-drone via power strum NYC unit, Band of Susans. These guys work the varied “heavy rock” feel, not the aggro metal continuum. The fathers of this are the Melvins, who have a new one you oughtta like if you take that back road to heavyville. Heavyville with hooks, here (and there) – this is no ambient trip – these are tunes worked up and put forth. God bless The Good Ship Rock and all those who sail her.
An hour for the trip to work and back? Cut a slice from these guys, Cave In, a cut from King Crimsons’ Thrak, the Rush’s “2112,” anything off Baroness’ The Red Album, Mission of Burma’s “Weatherbox,” your favorite Melvins and Boris cuts, Opeth’s “When,” and something from Karp and/or Harvey Milk.