Hollow Leg Finish Recording Third Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Back at the start of the year, I had Floridian sludge-slingers Hollow Leg‘s next opus on my list of 2015’s most anticipated albums. Curiosity played no small part in that since, after their digital single “God Eater” came out, I’ve been somewhat curious to find out what direction their next batch of material might take.

The difference? Well, Hollow Leg‘s last full-length was 2013’s Abysmal (review here), which stomped and stormed through torrents of aggressive, heavy sludge. Sure enough, “God Eater” covered some of the same ground — that is to say, if it had appeared on Abysmal, it would’ve been a turn but not completely out of place — but did so in a way more indebted to thickened Southern heavy grooves, less outwardly pissed off, with the screaming, and so on.

How does that translate to the new, as-yet-untitled record? That’s the question. If “God Eater” was a one-off experiment and Hollow Leg are back to their throat-ripping habits as usual, I don’t think we’ll lose out, but I’m curious to know one way or the other. As such, they go on the already-well-populated list of 2016‘s most anticipated albums, and a year later, we sort of wind up where we started.

Only thing that’s changed is now they’ve actually recorded. Sanford Parker will mix, Collin Jordan will master. That’s right, Hollow Leg‘s third offering is done being recorded and will be out on Argonauta Records next year. That seems like much more solid footing than where we were back in January.

They posted the following at the recording process’ completion:

hollow leg

We have officially finished work on LP#3! The record has now moved from our cave at high five audio in Deland, and gone to Chicago where it will be mixed by SANFORD PARKER, and then mastered once again at the boiler room by COLLIN JORDAN, before reaching its home at Argonauta Records.

We’re extremely pleased and excited by our tracking results, and now to have the record worked over by these 2 talents, we are just really looking forward to this one in every way, and can’t wait for it to be available for all of you! cheers!


Hollow Leg, “God Eater”

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Torche Announce First Headlining Dates of 2016

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


I don’t know, don’t you just feel good knowing that Torche are out there? Even if they’re not coming to your town this time around, it’s a pretty reliable supposition that they’ve been there before and they’ll get there again, and as they continue to support earlier-2015’s Restarter (review here), I’m just glad to know they’ll be kicking off the New Year doing what they do best in delivering boots to the collective ass of a live audience. Because they’re a fucking good band, and good bands should be playing live, as Torche are, rampaging through Europe (again?) next month before breaking for the holidays.

That’s your sports wisdom for the day, pointing out the obvious. If you need me, I’ll be in my zen rock garden.

Sadly, no, that’s not true. I neither have, nor spend time in, a zen rock garden. Even if I did, I’d just ruin it by bringing my laptop.

Here are the tour dates:

torche jan tour

TORCHE: Announces January US Headlining Dates

Miami stoner rockers TORCHE have just announced a short new run of headlining US dates beginning this January. The 10-day tour is set to kick off just five weeks after the band’s month-long European headlining tour concludes this November. After having toured in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and Europe over the past year, TORCHE will now bring their unique brand of rock to the US South for two weeks kicking off January 14. A complete listing of dates is available below.

TORCHE recently released Restarter, the band’s debut for Relapse Records and its best-selling album to date. The ten-song collection landed on multiple worldwide charts and was universally lauded by press outlets worldwide.

***All Dates With Jeff Carey and Day Old Man***
Jan 14 Savannah, GA Jinx
Jan 15 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade – Hell
Jan 16 Johnson City, TN The Hideaway
Jan 17 Chattanooga, TN JJ’s Bohemia
Jan 18 Memphis, TN The Hi-Tone
Jan 19 Birmingham, AL Saturn
Jan 20 Tallahassee, FL Club Downunder
Jan 21 Gainesville, FL The Wooly
Jan 22 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
Jan 23 Miami, FL Churchill’s Pub
Jan 24 Tampa, FL New World Brewery


Torche, “Annihilation Affair” official video

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Friday Full-Length: Cavity, Supercollider

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cavity, Supercollider (1999)

Probably Cavity‘s most remembered work owing in no small part to a Hydra Head reissue in 2002, Supercollider first appeared three years earlier in 1999 on Man’s Ruin Records, with different artwork but a no less vicious roll, feedback-soaked riffing developed over the course of a tumultuous seven years since the band’s inception in 1992. By the time they got around to Supercollider, third of the four records they’d release before calling it quits after 2001’s On the Lam, bassist Daniel Gorostiaga was the only remaining founding member of the band, but their lineup changes had brought on board players who would and had already helped to shape the style of heavy for which Miami has since become known, a shared lineage with their contemporaries in Floor finding the roster of guitarist/vocalist Anthony Vialon and drummer Henry Wilson (both known for their work in that band and featured in the reunited trio now active) on board for these 10 tracks, along with Gorostiaga and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Weinstein. The stew they’d concoct over the 41 minutes of Supercollider showcased a hook early in its opening title-track but was ultimately more sinister in its purposes on subsequent pieces like “Damaged IV” and “Last of the Final Goodbyes.”

And as much as Cavity‘s impact these years later on Miami heavy stems from the people who were a part of its lineup and their ongoing contributions — Wilson went on to form Dove after Floor, and now also plays in House of LightningVialon is back in Floor, whose guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks (also Torche) also did a stint in Cavity, as did Holly Hunt drummer Beatriz Monteavaro, former Torche guitarist Juan Montoya, and both guitarist/vocalist Jason Landrian and drummer Rafa Martinez of Black Cobra, among many others — that’s not to understate the actual influence their music had. One can hear the roots of much of what came after in Cavity‘s earlier work, and even bands like Kylesa and Mastodon, who are both from a ways north, in Georgia, owed Cavity a debt in their early days. Supercollider is more heavy rock and less punk than some of what Cavity did, but it still retains an ethic and penchant for meanness, staring down the listener, and its blend has remained its own over the 16 years since its release.

Some form of Cavity, whatever lineup it might be, are due for a reunion — and there have been talks of such for the last several years — but until we get there, a revisit to Supercollider will have to do. Hope you enjoy.

This weekend is my grandmother’s 100th birthday. A hundred fucking years. More life than you or I can imagine. I’ll be heading down to Jersey to celebrate with family and then back up on Sunday, so the writing that I might otherwise be doing to get ahead of the game on Monday is pretty much out of the question. She may or may not know who I am when I get there, but you’d best believe I’m gonna be there anyway. Some things you don’t miss.

So look for a new podcast on Monday. We’re due anyway. That and whatever news comes up will have to suffice.

Tuesday, a track premiere from DoctoR DooM, and hopefully a review of some Anathema vinyl if I can find time to write it — those reissues; they’re awesome — and Thursday, a track premiere from boozy rockers Plainride. I’ll also have a Freedom Hawk review sometime next week in addition to the Anathema, but I’m going to start preparing the Quarterly Review this coming week ahead of getting those posts up — 10 reviews a day for five days — the week starting June 27, so if I keep it a little more sparing on actual posts up next week, three or four a day instead of five, or six, that’s why. I’m not just lazy; I’m working on other stuff.

Speaking of, the job is going well, if you’re wondering. It doesn’t look like they want to shitcan me, which is important, and I was able to bring the little dog Dio to the office twice this week, so I mark that a win. Looking like they’re going to send me to San Francisco next month as well to write about a conference on semiconductors that runs from July 14-16, so you know I’ll be parlaying that to a visit to Amoeba Music and hopefully Aquarius Records too, the two of them comprising something of a record-buying Mecca I’ve been fortunate enough to stop through on more than one occasion in my life. Would be cool to find a show to hit as well. Mammatus play on July 9 with Trans Am. Just missed it. Timing is everything.

Alright, it’s just after 6PM and I’m pretty sure I’m the only person still in this office building, so time to get the hell out and go sit in traffic for an indeterminate amount of hours. I hope you have a great and safe weekend, wherever you’re at, and I hope you please take some time to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Holly Hunt Confirm Upcoming Tours with Mono and To Live and Shave in LA

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


Far be it from me to tell you your business, but if you’re not listening to the heaviest thing possible right now, you might want to put on some Holly Hunt. The instrumental Miami two-piece of guitarist Gavin Perry and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro took a minute to confirm upcoming tours with To Live and Shave in LA and Mono, one almost right into the next, and that’s really all the excuse I’ve needed this afternoon to run through their Bandcamp and revel in the crash and tonal overload they proffer like some kind of forklift for riffs.

To wit, their 2014 split with likeminded onslaught specialists Slomatics, which you can hear below. You’re probably well hip to these cats, and that’s cool, but sometimes a reminder is just the thing, and this is hitting the spot for me, so hopefully your experience is similar. Dates, links and audio follow:

To Live And Shave In LA / Holly Hunt – tour 2015
Sat May 23rd – Atlanta @ 529
Sun May 24th – Nashville @ Betty’s
Mon May 25th – Dayton @ Canal Public House
Tue May 26th – Chicago @ CLVBRECTVM
Wed May 27th – Detroit @ Trinosophes
Thu May 28th – Cleveland @ Now Thats Class
Fri May 29th – Rochester @ Monty’s Crown
Sat May 30th – Boston @ Deep Thoughts
Sun May 31st – NYC @ Palisades
Mon Jun 1st – Philadelphia @ Vat
Tue Jun 2nd – Baltimore @ The Bank
Wed Jun 3rd – Richmond @ Auxiliary
Thu Jun 4th – Chapel Hill @ Nightlight


Mono / Holly Hunt – North American Tour 2015
Jun 9, 2015 | Rock & Roll Hotel | Washington, DC
Jun 10, 2015 | Johnny Brenda’s | Philadelphia, PA
Jun 11, 2015 | The Ballroom at The Outer Space | Hamden, CT
Jun 12, 2015 | LPR – Le Poisson Rouge | New York, NY
Jun 13, 2015 | Middle East Downstairs | Cambridge, MA
Jun 14, 2015 | La Tulipe | Montreal, QC
Jun 15, 2015 | Ritual Nightclub | Ottawa, ON
Jun 16, 2015 | Lee’s Palace | Toronto, ON
Jun 17, 2015 | Majestic Cafe | Detroit, MI
Jun 18, 2015 | Bottom Lounge | Chicago, IL
Jun 19, 2015 | The Rave Bar | Milwaukee, WI
Jun 20, 2015 | Cedar Cultural Center | Minneapolis, MN
Jun 23, 2015 | Wonder Ballroom | Portland, OR
Jun 24, 2015 | Neumos | Seattle, WA
Jun 26, 2015 | The Independent | San Francisco, CA
Jun 27, 2015 | Troubadour | Los Angeles, CA
Jun 28, 2015 | Casbah | San Diego, CA
Jun 29, 2015 | The Crescent Ballroom | Phoenix, AZ
Jul 1, 2015 | Club Dada | Dallas, TX
Jul 2, 2015 | Red 7 | Austin, TX



Holly Hunt & Slomatics, Split (2014)

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Ancient River’s Keeper of the Dawn out April 14

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

ancient river

Floridian psychedelic two-piece Ancient River are gearing up to release their sixth album, Keeper of the Dawn. A splatter platter pressed in black and white and gray with a cover that boasts an upside-down cross comprised of Navajo-skull polaroids, it will be out next month via Summer Moon, and the title-track is streaming now, all soaked in reverb vibe and laid back and molten and whatnot. It’s my first exposure to the band, who are already veterans of Austin Psych FestLiverpool Psych Fest and others — they’ll also appear at Milwaukee Psych Fest and the Reverence Festival this year — but the spaciousness the Gaineville duo offer argues well in its own favor.

I’d advise you to press play on the track at the bottom of the post so you can listen as you make your way through the info below, hoisted from the PR wire:

ancient river keeper of the dawn

Ancient River Share New Single + New LP News

Enigmatic southern-psych duo Ancient River announce their forthcoming album Keeper Of The Dawn by sharing the title track via SoundCloud today. Keeper Of The Dawn is dense with murmurs of psych prowess informed as much by their history (this is Ancient River’s sixth full-length, and eighth release since 2010) as their rich neo-psych influences.

Ancient River, the sonic brainchild of singer/songwriter James Barreto, is an ever-changing snapshot of rock n’ roll and psychedelia, flowing from the swampy roots of the American south to the far reaches of innerspace.

Veterans of the psych scene, Ancient River’s wall-of-sound barrage has been honed by extensive touring across the states and beyond–including appearances at Austin Psych Fest (2013-2014), Los Angeles’ Psycho De Mayo (2014), and the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia (2012), all the while sharing stages with the likes of Dead Skeletons, Rosco (Spaceman 3), Night Beats, Singapore Sling, Heartless Bastards, Lumerians & Ringo Deathstarr.

It all began in the dawn of the year 2000, as guitarist J. Barreto was making frequent trips to Gainesville to play with The Ohm, his instrumental psychedelic band which thrived on instant creation and a homegrown DIY ethic. Over the next few years they recorded several albums worth of material entirely on a 4-track tape recorder, with James collecting and refining the components of his burgeoning home studio along the way. Upon moving to Gainesville to start his own project, he began recording local bands, producing several albums while creating music for local independent films. It was out of this period of musical exploration that Ancient River was born. Barreto’s house soon grew into a fully-fledged home studio/rehearsal space, where like-minded musicians could be found tirelessly sharpening their wide range of sounds, encapsulating everything from noisy shoegaze to psychedelia to classic americana.

Locked away in the pursuit of his sonic vision, it wasn’t long before J. Barreto earned himself a reputation as a musical hermit, though it was a full two years before he took Ancient River to the stage, re-emerging as an impassioned singer/frontman while wielding his unmistakable space-rock guitar sound and creating a captivating live show accompanied by entrancing psychedelic visuals. With the addition of Alex Cordova in 2011, Ancient River encamped into J.’s home studio and after recording multiple albums filled with the sounds of timeless American fuzz rock and reverb-soaked garage-psych grooves, hit the road in 2014 for a heavy national tour.

Now the band find themselves on the eve of a new album release and traveling to some of their most highly anticipated performances to date. A pioneering and prolific act at their creative peak and still on the rise, Ancient River look to take their vision and unique sound to new heights in 2015. Let it flow!

Keeper Of The Dawn is out 4/14 on Summer Moon.

1. This Is The Time
2. Keeper Of The Dawn
3. New Rising
4. Mother Of Light
5. The Next One
6. Stay With Me
7. Journey Into The Light Of Darkness
8. Desolation Song
9. Hallways And Mirrors
10. End Of Dawn


Ancient River, “Keeper of the Dawn”

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Shroud Eater Premiere “Face the Master” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

shroud eater

Oh, it does feel good to hear Shroud Eater crushing it once again. The Miami-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Jeannie Saiz, bassist/vocalist Janette Valentine and newcomer drummer Davin Sosa will release a new single, Face the Master, April 7 on Primitive Violence. It’ll be the first new Shroud Eater since 2013’s murder-prone Dead Ends EP (review here), which of course followed 2011’s debut full-length, ThunderNoise (review here) and their 2009 demo (review here), and while it’s just two songs and done in under seven minutes, it reestablishes the three-piece’s momentum, which seemed to be building to a tipping point coming out of Dead Ends, before the lineup change. Some East Coast tour dates following the Face the Master release won’t hurt in that regard either.

But mostly, it’s just a joy to have Shroud Eater back, the efficiency of their neo-sludge on display in the 2:44 “Face the Master,” which culls its lyrical basis from the 1979 film adaptation of Stephen King‘s Salem’s Lot, shroud eater face the masterand moves swiftly from destructive thrash to a slowed-down, harmonized finish worthy of whatever ’90s comparison you’d want to attach to it. The subsequent “House of Endings” is a little longer and more straightforward h-e-a-v-y rock, but spacious and huge-sounding as it rolls into a drawling solo in the second half that leads to a grueling semi-deconstruction, the resonant rumble being the last remaining element to fade out. The hope, of course, is that Face the Master precedes more to come from Shroud Eater either later this year or in 2016, but even if this is it for now, I doubt many who take the time to listen will be complaining.

The video for “Face the Master,” which I have the pleasure of premiering, was put together by Valentine and, like the song itself, features retooled clips from Salem’s Lot asking whether or not your faith is enough.

So is it?

Shroud Eater, “Face the Master” official video

Miami, Florida’s SHROUD EATER will release their two-song EP, Face The Master, April 7th, 2015 on regular and special-edition cassette via Primitive Violence Records & Visual, as well as a digital download. In celebration of the EP’s release, the band will also be embarking on an eight-day trek up and down the east coast in support of the release.

SHROUD EATER continue to deliver crushing alms to the altar of heavy. Their newest two-song offering, FACE THE MASTER, which was recorded by Davin Sosa and Aric Meerbott at Guzu Recordings, Miami, Florida and mixed and Mastered by Jay Matheson at The Jam Room in Columbia, SC, is a face-ripping romp in vicious tones, gritty vocals, and unexpected turns that have come to define the scuzzy Shroud Eater sound. Riding high off 2013’s highly acclaimed EP Dead Ends and re-energized with a new lineup, Shroud Eater has borne comparisons to metal behemoths like Kylesa, High on Fire, and Acid King, all while forging their own dynamic sound in the metal landscape.

4/22 – Savannah, GA @ THE JINX
4/23 – Raleigh, NC @ The Maywood
4/24 – Philly, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
4/25 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus
4/26 – Washington DC @ TBA
4/27 – Wilmington, NC @ TBA
4/28 – Charleston, SC – “Tunnel of Lust” House Show

Jean Saiz: guitar, vocals
Janette Valentine: bass, vocals
Davin Sosa: drums, vocals

Shroud Eater on Thee Facebooks

Shroud Eater on Bandcamp

Shroud Eater’s website

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Torche Release Restarter Today on Relapse

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


I’ve seen some pretty interesting reactions to Torche‘s Relapse debut, from people digging the return of their sheer sonic heft and melodic range, to being caught up wondering at the slower average pace of the material compared to some of what Torche have done before. Wherever you land on the subject, Torche‘s Restarter (review here) is out today and the response to its arrival seems generally positive. Fortunate since they’re about to spend probably the next 18 months on tour supporting it, and it’s already been hyped with, among other things, a video game, which I’m sorry to say I sucked at viciously. Like, horribly. Embarrassingly bad at it.

Today’s actually a pretty big release day, with stuff out from TorcheRuby the HatchetCrypt Sermon and others, so if you’ve got money to burn, there’s plenty of kindling around. The announcement of Restarter‘s materialization came down the PR wire thusly and brought with it a trailer for Torche‘s upcoming “Annihilation Affair” video, which you can find below:

torche restarter


Torche release Restarter, the hard rock outfit’s fourth album and Relapse Record’s debut, today. The critically acclaimed collection is streaming in its entirety via Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/relapserecords/sets/torche-restarter).

The band will unveil an animated video for “Annihilation Affair” during the week of March 9. A teaser for the clip, which was directed by Phil Mucci (High on Fire, Monster Magnet, Stone Sour), can be seen here.

Restarter was recorded at the band’s Miami studio, Pinecrust, with bass player Jonathan Nuñez overseeing production and Converge’s Kurt Ballou once again returning to handle mixing.

Upcoming headlining shows from Torche:

March 4 Miami, FL Churchill’s Pub #
March 6 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
March 7 Birmingham, AL The Bottletree
March 8 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
March 9 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s Downstairs
March 10 Austin, TX Red 7
March 11 Dallas, TX Club Dada #
March 12 Memphis, TN The Hi-Tone
March 13 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
March 14 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
March 15 Milwaukee, WI The Cactus Club
March 16 Columbus, OH Skully’s Music Diner
March 17 Cleveland, OH The Grog Shop
March 18 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
March 20 Detroit, MI The Pike Room
March 21 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
March 22 Montreal, QC Bar Le Ritz
March 23 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
March 25 Boston, MA Great Scott
March 26 Brooklyn, NY St. Vitus
March 27 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
March 28 Richmond, VA Strange Matters #
March 29 Washington, DC DC 9 #

May 2 Leipzig, DE Taubchental
May 3 Wroclaw, PL Asymmetry Festival
May 4 Prague, CZ 007
May 5 Munich, DE Ampere
May 6 Milan, IT Lo Fi Club
May 8 Barcelona, SP Rocksound
May 9 Madrid, SP Boute Live!
May 10 Lisbon, PT Musicbox
May 11 Bilbao, SP Kafe Antzokia
May 13 Zurich, SZ Dynamo
May 14 Wiesbaden, DE Schlachthoff
May 15 Cologne, DE Underground
May 16 Berlin, DE Hafenklang
May 18 Nijmegen, NL Merelyn
May 19 Haarlem, NL Patronaat
May 20 Paris, FR Glazart
May 21 Antwerp, BE Kavka
May 22 London, UK Underworld *
May 23 Leeds, UK Belgrave Social Club *
May 24 Galway, IR Roisin Dubh
May 25 Cork, IR Craine Lane
May 26 Dublin, IR Grand Social
May 27 Belfast, IR The Limelight
May 28 Glasgow, UK CCA **
May 29 Manchester, UK Sound Control **
May 30 Bristol, UK Temples Festival
May 31 Nimes, FR This is Not a Love Song
June 1 Nantes, FR Le Ferrailleur

All U.S. dates w/Wrong; Nothing appears on all dates except when noted with a #

Fans of the band can try their skills at Torche vs. Robots: Annihilation Affair (www.torchevsrobots.com), a single-player game featuring each of the Torche band members as characters trying to save the city of Miami from destruction bent robots.


Torche, “Annihilation Affair” video teaser

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Torche, Restarter: Calling Minions

Posted in Reviews on January 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


While the title immediately evokes connotations for the band itself, the fact remains that Torche‘s Restarter could just as easily refer to an interpersonal relationship or someone who decides to go back and beat Super Mario 3 again. The lyrics for the song itself, which closes out Torche‘s 10-track/39-minute Relapse Records debut, are minimal and vague, just a couple lines amid nine minutes of steady riffing that carry the record to its finish. Like most of everything, it’s more likely not relegated to a single idea, but if the title provokes intrigue, so too does the album itself. Torche‘s fourth overall, Restarter follows 2012’s Harmonicraft (review here), which, while engaging as ever in Torche‘s blend of heavy tonality and melodic or harmonized vocals and irresistible hooks, was shortly and perhaps too easily upstaged by the subsequent single, Harmonslaught, which promised heavier things to come. It’s only been three years since Harmonicraft, but it feels like a long three years, with guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks having released the Oblation full-length (review here) in 2014 with the reactivated trio Floor and toured to support it and Torche guitarist/vocalist Andrew Elstner, bassist Jonathan Nuñez and drummer Rick Smith having also pursued other projects in the interim (ShitstormTilts). I wouldn’t say Torche were ever really inactive or too far from public consciousness, but between the members coming back together to make this record and the signing to Relapse — a fitting home for a group so respected and prone to extended touring — it’s an easy enough argument to make that they’re trying to make a fresh start.

If that’s the case, they’re in a tough position. Like many acts with such a distinctly individual, almost singular style — think SlayerNapalm DeathSunnO))), or even to a certain extend Torche‘s recent tourmates, Clutch — Torche can’t veer too far from their signature blend of pop and heft without coming across as a completely different band. Restarter has a few bolder steps in songs like the slower groove of the ultra-catchy call to arms “Minions” and the near-brooding “No Servants,” Smith using half-time drums to make the material sound even more spacious than the tones he’s punctuating, but the sound is still unmistakable for anyone who’s heard Torche since 2008’s Meanderthal sophomore outing, their process having been refined and tightened after a transitional (in bridging Brooks from Floor to Torche) but clarion 2005 self-titled debut, and while opener “Annihilation Affair” absolutely crushes and caps with about a minute and a half of vicious feedback and noise backed by plodding toms, once “Bishop in Arms” kicks in with Brooks and Elstner in harmony, Torche are very much Torche. Nonetheless, the variety and energy they bring to the progression here gives Restarter a particularly mature feel while still remembering to have a good time in the post-“Minions” midsection trio of “Loose Men,” “Undone” and “Blasted.” Three shorter tracks — Torche are no strangers to songs under three minutes — they’re a familiar but welcome rush of hooks, melody and dense riffing, “Loose Men” a hook-fueled blast, “Undone” a tonal push that presages “Barrier Hammer” still to come and “Blasted” a righteous showing of form that ends the side A on a high note both in mood and tempo.


Side B is a different animal altogether. Where four out of the six tracks on Restarter‘s first half are under three minutes long, the second half breathes a little more, with “No Servants,” “Believe It” and the aforementioned “Barrier Hammer” hovering around four minutes each before the nine-minute closing title cut. A feedback-laden start brings about a grandiose stomp for “No Servants” that feels somewhat in conversation with “Minions” in its riff, but gives way to the even-bigger-sounding “Believe It,” which meshes understated vocals with one of the album’s more furious instrumental progressions, the contrast effective in conveying both a sonic and emotional lumbering, lead guitar getting the last word in a long-ish fadeout perhaps meant to lull the listener away from consciousness so that “Barrier Hammer” can thunder in with that much more impact. Frankly, it doesn’t hurt, but the song doesn’t need the help. In addition to being the best use of Brooks‘ bomb-tone guitar since “Tarpit Carnivore” from the 2007 In Return EP, the track brims with purpose and stews in its righteousness. Two verses, a quick, gruff recitation of the title line and they get out of the way and let the riff have its space. One imagines it would be a beast coming through a P.A. of decent size, but on Restarter, it also serves to pick up from “Believe It” and transition into the vitality uptick of “Restarter” itself, which is comprised only of one or two riffs and the already-noted minimal lyrics, but proves hypnotic in its extended repetitions and smoothly river-currents the record to its end without losing focus on the way to its own deconstruction, the last minute-plus given to feedback, sustained guitar echo and swirl.

It’s a gorgeous and somewhat surprising finish. Torche have had extended closers since Meanderthal, but again, there’s an edge to “Restarter” and its method that underscores the band’s success in giving fresh edge to their established modus. I don’t know if Restarter is meant in reference to the band starting over or not, but they’ve made a record that, if that were the case, would make for a solid (new) beginning. This year marks a decade since their first album was released, and they’ve accomplished no small amount in that time, but if Restarter signifies anything at all, it’s that Torche‘s creative progression is ongoing and that while there are elements that will always reoccur, we haven’t yet encountered the full dynamic breadth of what they have to offer.

Torche, Restarter (2015)

Torche on Thee Facebooks

Restarter at Relapse Records

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