Torche, Nothing, Wrong | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Torche

Torche

When: Sat., March 14, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
In the mythic world of heavy music, Torche are very often accurately described as “sludge metal,” thanks in part to the band’s unwavering devotion to the “bomb string”—the guitar string that when struck makes a subterrestrial rumble that sounds like the earth being devoured from the inside out by an army of Truckasauruses. But the Miami-born quartet have never been afraid of edging their way onto poppier ground too, as evidenced by 2012’s Harmonicraft, an album of pastel-shaded metal that relies less on devastating, doomy riffs than on the ethereal, spell-casting vocals of front man Steve Brooks and the flexible but insanely tight drumming of Rick Smith. The new Restarter (Relapse) returns a bit to the days of yore—occasionally outbrutalizing the band’s benchmark record, 2008’s Meanderthal—with tracks like “Minions” and the fucking ruthless “Barrier Hammer,” which practically swallows itself alive within a black hole of its own drop-tuned guitar noise. Torche just can’t not sound enormous. Even when they do rein in the aggression a bit, like on the album’s nearly nine-minute title track, the bleeding swirls of atmospheric guitar from Brooks and Andrew Elstner can easily hypnotize the most metal of metalheads into gently nodding along and wondering what it all means. —Kevin Warwick
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