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Solid and catchy - 80%

PorcupineOfDoom, November 13th, 2015

Usually when you see the tag "alternative" you don't really know what you're going to get. As a result 69 Chambers are a little different from other bands billed as progressive metal/rock, and Torque is an interesting release. Perhaps it isn't the most incredible creation that you'll ever hear, but it's solid and definitely provides the listener with some memorable moments.

First of all, the drumming is awesome. Diego Rapacchietti, take a bow. The guy just puts in so much effort, and it's really noticeable. The energy he plays with seems to transfer through to the rest of the band, while also making his own playing sound spectacular. Despite the changing elements of every song he copes well and the technicality always stays at the same high calibre. It's a good change to hear someone using the drum kit as an instrument in its own right rather than merely some background noise.

The guitar work is a step or two below the standard set by Diego though, which is a bit of a shame. I don't recall much spectacular coming from the guitar, and it mostly consists of power chords and chugs. The solos are good when they come around, but that isn't all that often. I mean, listen to 'And Then There Was Silence'. Aside from a few noodles the guitars do nothing but chug along for the entire song, and then all of a sudden, bam! The solo comes in, and you wonder why the hell Tommy doesn't do something with inspiration like that more often. Come on, if you can pen a solo like that then you can surely come up with something better than a simple formula of chug, chug, chug, noodle, repeat. However, it has to be said that the acoustic work is much better than the majority of what you'll hear, and I'm glad that most songs seem to incorporate some sections of it.

The main element of the band though is of course Nina's vocals. Perhaps she isn't as captivating as some other singers, but her voice is powerful and she also knows how to control that power. Everything she does fits with what else is going on, and she never does anything that she appears incapable of pulling off. Would I like a bit more variation? Of course I would. But it's better that she remains as consistent as she does throughout Torque than starts to sound like Dunja Radetić from Ashes You Leave, who was either sensational or off-key and lacking technique.

Most of the songs on this album follow a similar pattern, but that isn't really a problem. They always feature a very catchy chorus that really sells the song, and although the verses might not be the most memorable, in the long run that doesn't have much effect on the music overall. It's clever thinking by 69 Chambers, and they're well aware that the chorus is the element that's going to get people to remember them. This is also helped further by the length of the album, as at over an hour there's too much to scrutinise for the not-so-sensational stuff to be remembered.

Overall I'd say that this album is worth checking out if you like catchy choruses and a strong female singer. You won't get much in the way of awesome hooks or driving melodies, but I did enjoy this album and I hope some others give it a spin too.