on 1 May 2012
Disclaimer: I own all of Torche's recorded output and count myself as a HUGE fan. This 'review' may therefore come out a bit fanboyish but bear with me please. Much like the brevity of Torche's songs, I'll keep this short.
The fact that you are viewing this page tells me that you have at least a passing interest in Torche or heavy, interesting music in general. If you fall into this category I say go out and buy this record ASAP damn it! Spin.com is doing a full album stream at the moment so at least check out the songs first if you must. You are not going to find a catchier, better recorded, more fun and a more addictive heavy record than _Harmonicraft_ this year.
In case you are new to Torche and have stumbled upon this page by accident (or upon a recommendation), the best way to describe their sound is heavy poppified (is that even a word?) rock. Imagine the best parts of Soundgarden, Kyuss, QOTSA, Clutch, Monster Magnet, The Foo Fighters, Devin Townsend Band/Project, Baroness, etc thrown into a blender and made into a delicious smoothie. To call them derivative of any of the aforementioned bands would be doing a grave injustice to Torche though. They have honed and crafted a sound over these last few years that they can proudly call their own.
The heart of all Torche songs are the spiralling, gargantuan riffs. But they are not heavy in the traditional 'heavy metal' sense (read: oppressive) and that is because they are always played within the context of the songs. And these songs are about melody first, heaviosity later. Torche, better than most bands, does an amazing job of walking the tight rope between heavy and catchy. Steve Brooks' melodic singing has improved a lot since the early days and the rhythm section is tight as always. Their songs run rampant, ranging from fast thrash/punk frenzies ('Walk It Off', 'Sky Trials', 'Skin Moth'), mid-paced melodic anthems ('Kicking', 'Reverse Inverted', 'Roaming'), to slow doomy introspective monsters ('Solitary Traveller', 'Looking On') and everything in between. The variety on display is superb.
In a crazy alternate universe (much like the one pictured in the artwork) this would be everyone's soundtrack for this summer. Instead, I'll have the pleasure to introduce my friends (at least those with more adventurous ears) to the best music they have never heard. Win-win.
on 25 June 2012
Stumbled across this band recently whilst mass-aquiring a load of new music. Struck me on the first listen as being absolutely brilliant, and subsequent listens have only solidified this impression. The album to me sounds like a strange amalgam of punk, pop, hard rock and maybe a little bit doom. Its hard to describe, theres so much going on. Its a really lively recording, upbeat to me and is filled with treasure, loads of fantastic guitar and drum work and the singing reminds me of dillinger four for some reason. . . The other review and the BBC description capture it better, but I really needed to get another 5 star on their board, and since I'm new to the band I guess I can't be shouted down for being a fanboy.
on 19 September 2012
My first experience of Torche's music was when they supported Isis, around the same time they released Meanderthal. I was aware of the band but this was the first time I had really listened to their stuff. It was a good introduction and I can attest that Torche can produce a gloriously heavy live show. However, at the time I neglected to pick up the album and the band largely escaped me until Songs for Singles. Not a terrible EP but none of the songs really grabbed me like I had hoped they would. I wondered if the live environment was where Torche were best heard. Then some friends started talking about Harmonicraft (one said album of the year so far) and I gave them another chance. Glad I did.
Like I said, Songs for Singles wasn't bad but every song on Harmonicraft surpasses any on the preceding release. It smashes into action with Letting Go and immediately grabs you. All the songs are little nuggets of weird, heavy yet accessible joy, each enjoyable on their own, all working together in perfect unison. Torche's style is fairly unique and the 'sludge-pop' tag does cover it well, bizarre as it sounds. Riffs of varying pace but consistent quality, a fairly unique but wholly listenable singing style and regularly, layered with full-pelt, rocking solos.
I would put closest comparison as Melvins but it's more in mindset or style than a simple sound comparison. Torche have removed all the challenging weirdness and replaced it with something that your parents are not likely to find unlistenable. I could imagine Melvins fans perhaps not liking Torche for their easiness to enjoy but I conceive the scope for the Torche appreciation society to be massive (and I'm surprised it isn't). Another band that comes into my head is Foo Fighters. I hate the Foo Fighters - they seem to be the height of middle-of-the-road, background pointlessness. I don't care if Dave Grohl is a 'legend' (because of Scream, yeah?) and I appreciate he is a nice guy but Foo Fighters is not good commercial rock. THIS is good commercial rock. I can't believe this is not played everywhere and beloved by all. But maybe the fact that it isn't is what makes it so special.
Kicking, Reverse Inverted, Roaming, Kiss me Dudely (best song title)are all excellent songs. In fact, the whole thing is great. It blasts past in thirty-odd minutes and leaves you grinning and ready to go again. I'm not sure that I agree with my friend that it's album of the year so far, but then I'm not sure I disagree either. Whether it is or not, it's obviously damn close and so certainly worth your time. If you've been unsure, stop your hesitation. Whole-heartedly recommended.
on 24 July 2012
I've always loved torche as a band, their album's always hold a unique sound that changes constantly almost to the extent of being concept albums, but retaining completely the key defining style and sound that their prior work has, Harmonicraft is deliriously, europhically rocking. Intensely upbeat and high powered, it reminds me most of Keelhaul this time, almost of pastiche of amazing titbits from rock and metal compressed into short spikey multi-coloured rock songs. Absolutely Sky High.
on 8 June 2013
Most rock albums of the present seem to fall into some tired genre or other: we have the endless cycle of 'djent' bands, for example; even the Deftones seem to be sticking to some comfortable formula. So where to turn for some good, foot stomping rock and roll these days? Well you could do much worse than turning to Torche's Harmonicraft album for inspiration.
If I were to summarize this sound in just a few words, I would say that they sound like Helmet teams up with Janes Addiction. So, on the one hand, you have the same heavy, groovy, slightly angular riffing and gruff intonations of Helmet (See Reverse Inverted), but Torche stray into the more colourful, unrestrained psychedelic territory of Janes Addiction with their sound (especially on 'Letting go', which sounds even more like Jane's Addiction with the heavy use of delay on the vocals). I would be very surprised if Torche were not fans of either of these bands: The comparisons seem unavoidable. However, Torche manage to come out with a sound that is altogether their own.
Just the right balance of aggression and melody. The result, is an interesting style of music that is very heavy without being angry, bleak or pessimistic.
That cover is excellent, too.
on 11 September 2012
Brilliant album and agree with all the other reviewers. Mixture of hard rock/punk/stoner metal with some excellent clean vocals, guitars and some superb heavy riffs. I'm in my late 50s and still headbanging and can recommend this album to any of you more mature rock/metal heads. Sabbath meets Green Day and does anyone else think the vocalist sounds like Peter Gabriel from the early Genesis days?
on 11 March 2013
I have given the a 5 star rating on the strength of the songs not the recording quality. don,t get me wrong its not that I have to turn the sound up its just what ever volume you listen to it its flat, which is a shame because the songs are very strong. Not one bad song on the album.
If you like American Metal music Torches Harmonicraft is an excellent album and one to consider.
on 7 February 2013
Torche - takes your head of with blasts of power but then suprises you further with clever twists and turns and melodic hooks. Sounds to me a bit like early Biffy but in a metal style. Sounds just like the album cover in fact!
on 16 January 2015
THIS BAND CROSS GENRES, HEAVY BUT MELODIC WITH A POP SENSIBILITY. I HAVE PRE-ORDERED THEIR NEXT EFFORT.
on 10 August 2015
best from florida.