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Torche - Restarter - 80%

schuler, March 13th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Relapse Records

Cuddly Floridian metal outfit Torche’s Relapse Records debut adds another solid slab to the band’s growing legacy. It seems like there’s nobody out there who doesn’t like Torche. And with a record like this one, who’s gonna challenge that? Restarter introduces ten new anthems into the band’s catalog of pop-cum-sludge tracks that feel like the audio equivalent of some kind of Trader Joe’s dessert spread with the consistency of Nutella and the taste of cotton candy.

This record’s got more hooks than a meat locker. Opener “Annihilation Affair” kicks off Restarter in a similar fashion as some of Torche’s past outings, particularly Songs For Singles. That EP’s immediacy is present throughout the entire new record, but from a songwriting standpoint, most of Restarter feels like a continuation of the band’s last full-length, the universally-lauded Harmonicraft, particularly the chordy momentum of “Minions” and “Loose Men.”

In the past, the most partial I’ve been to Torche is when they sounded the most like Floor. Singer/guitarist Steve Brooks’s pre-Torche precursor made a stunning return to form in 2014, releasing the monumental Oblation. Loving that album like I do, my biggest fears for Restarter were that Torche’s new batch would pale in comparison. While the bands may travel different trajectories, there’s no denying the DNA they share is evident in Brooks’s ethereal vocal delivery on any song you’d care to choose. Some of Restarter‘s heaviest gems, namely “Blasted” and “Believe It,” smack of burly Floor-esque muck, but there’s enough Torche sweetness mixed in that they carry their own weight with aplomb. Restarter is just as solid an outing as Oblation, and even though Floor are back, it’s probably high time dudes like me stop making comparisons and just enjoy two killer bands.

While there aren’t any real deviations from the formulas that made Meanderthal and Harmonicraft so successful, there’s no need to weep for territory Torche haven’t yet mapped. These dudes clearly know they’ve got a good thing going. You can practically hear them smiling through your speakers.

(This review originally appeared on AudioPhix.com)