Band of the Day

2012.08.29

Torche

A Miami metal band writes heavy tunes lightened by great melodies
Heaven so unwired, he won't be so satisfied.
lyrics from In Return

Shortly after the 2004 breakup of 90s doom metal band Floor, vocalist Steve Brooks re-entered the rather downplayed Miami metal scene alongside drummer Rick Smith, bassist Jonathan Nuñez and guitarist and ex-Floor band mate Juan Montoya. Together, Torche released their self-titled debut in 2005—the band collaborated on each album’s artwork and packaging—introducing their anthemic rendition of sludge metal. Following the success of their first record, Torche released Meanderthal in 2008. Later that year, Montoya and Torche parted ways, but in 2011, Torche went on to include guitarist Andrew Elstner. Torche released their latest Harmonicraft in April 2012 through Volcom Entertainment.

It's impossible to pinpoint one musical classification for the Florida band Torche. With their deluges of sludgy, distorted guitars, they're primarily a metal band, but they can sound punk, they can go experimental edging on prog, and those guitar lines can get pretty psychedelic. So suffice to say Torche, makes heavy music lightened only by great melodies. Torche was formed in 2004 out of the ashes of doom metal band Floor. Frontman Steve Brooks started the project with fellow Floor member guitraist Juan Montoya as well as drummer Rick Smith and bassist Jonathan Nunez, both veterans of the metal/grindcore scene. The band have released three full lengths, including 2012's Harmonicraft, which may be Torche's best effort yet.

With it's huge instrumentation and pumped up energy, metal is a natural fit for stadiums, and Harmonicraft sounds like it's native habitat should be 45,000 person arenas, drums echoing menacingly in the massive space. “Letting Go” recalls experimental fuzz punks No Age (featured in this very app on July 6th) with its hypnotically repeating walls of guitar drum circle meets hard rock drums. As elsewhere on the album, the song is elevated to the next level by melody, in this case Brooks' anthemic vocals. “Kicking” almost sounds more pop punk than metal, leaning closer to the Foo Fighters or Queens of the Stone Age than Megadeth. Backed by swirling, phaser warped guitar, the chorus is positively singable, asking you to stretch your lungs to the fullest and belt along with Brooks. “Walk It Off” is a minute and a half of ferociously exhilarating thrash. It sounds like Torche has suddenly abandoned the stadium for a sweaty house party that's one big mosh pit fueled by blistering lead guitar and hyper-speed punk rock drums.

However you want to categorize it, Torche is powerful stuff. Heavy but not suffocating, ferocious but not at the expense of melody and subtlety.