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Torche "Meanderthal" LP

Image of Torche "Meanderthal" LP

$14.00 - On Sale

*Robotic Empire*

-review from pitchfork

After establishing themselves as fine purveyors of metallic sludge over the course of an album and an EP, Torche's second full-length, Meanderthal, refines their penchant for volume and proves that there's more in their bag of tricks than Melvins-like metal. The record kicks off at a breakneck pace with a half-dozen tar-thick tracks. The fleet-fingered math of "Triumph of Venus" gives way to the triumphant bombast of "Grenades", a track that's barely finished before "PirhaƱa"'s stop/start stomp kicks into gear. Through these six songs-- including "Sandstorm", "Speed of the Nail", and "Healer"-- nothing necessarily feels out of the ordinary when compared to what Torche have done in the past.

The hard left turn-- and perhaps the breaking point with "true" metal dudes-- comes with "Across the Shields", a tune that could find a nice home on modern rock radio. Musically, the group finds a comfortable middle ground between their speed trials and more turgid pace, allowing Steve Brooks' militant holler-- usually more reminiscent of Helmet's Page Hamilton-- to take on a melodic bent that could bring to mind anyone from Dave Grohl to Jawbox's J. Robbins. There's even an honest-to-goodness hook: "I am your armor," Brooks sings as the guitars descend. The moment stands out due to producer (and Converge guitarist) Kurt Ballou; the crisp sheen he lends to Torche's sound makes everything stand out and shimmer.

Torche follow that breakthrough with a second half that contains a quick and clean 30-second instrumental ("Little Champion"), more catchy hit-and-run slabs ("Sundown", "Without a Sound"), and a thunderous one-two punch ("Amnesian", "Meanderthal") to finish an album that shows Torche spreading their wings and exploring new territory while still creating their heaviest music yet. It's a fitting send-off to an absolutely killer rock record-- one that's likely to appeal to listeners into any stripe of heavy music from the past 20 years.

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