Whenever I am having a discussion of music with friends, which happens more often then I'd like to admit, for music is my sole sense of being, the topic of why there aren't more "sludge-metal bands incorporating vocals into their songs always seems to come up. I've always had an answer - I won't divulge it here for fear of having you musical elitists thieve it - but now I have a better answer: Torche.
Torche is an extension of the seminal Floridian stoner rock outfit Floor. Following the band's breakup last year, Steve Brooks, guitairist/vocalist for Torche, and Juan Montoya, lead guitarist, set out to recruit members for their new project. The two were eventually joined by drummer Rick Smith and bassist Jonathan Nunez. After gathering its players, the band quickly got to work writing songs.
The result? The initial demo recordings Torched tracked were extremely promising. The style fell very much in line with other metal/post-rock hybrids Pelican and Mouth of the Architect. Prior to the release I came across an entire album's worth of these demo recordings; needless to say after hearing those I was more than stoked for Torche's debut to drop.
Unfortunately, after purchasing and listening to Torche, it didn't take long for my excitement to dissipate. Brooks had bastardized everything great about those demo recordings by laying horrid pop-influenced vocals over the top of nearly every one of the songs. This included destroying some of the best tracks from the demo - "Vampyro" and "Fuck Addict," known as "Ass Smasher" and "Stoner 1" on the demo, respectively.
Despite Brooks' less than tasteful vocals, the album does have several highpoints - musically, of course. Namely "The Last Word, " which clocks in at nine and a half minutes. This track is an adventure the ties together lose fitting guitar noise, space rock, doom metal, post-rock, and aspects of psychedelica.
If you enjoyed the demo recordings of Torche, you might be interested in picking up this album. I wouldn't suggest buying it new as it's too risky of a purchase. Definitely hit up a local used records shop; I'm sure they'll have a copy of it on hand. Those of you not into taking risks are better off downloading the demo album off the Internet - it's a much more solid release. I give that version an 8.5.
6.0 / 10
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