Torche – Admission (Relapse Records)

Back in 2005, the stoner/doom scene was becoming saturated with the same old slow heavy riff/ growled vocals combo and was desperately looking for something fresh. Out of nowhere came Torche from Florida whose heavy riffs owed as much to Fugazi as they did to Sleep and combined with the soaring vocals of Steve Brooks offered a much needed change for the scene. Their sound has evolved slightly over the years with later efforts such as Harmonicraft and Restarter drifting into power pop territory, which is no bad thing, but essentially the dirgey, fuzzed riffs and vocal style, has remained a staple of the band’s sound.  This brings us to Admission, Torche’s fifth album.

After ten short seconds of the first song, I get the feeling I’m going to be listening to this all summer long as a ferocious Matt Pike-esque riff crashes in over some frantic drum work in From Here and then that familiar groove locks in for Submission. Like Dave Wyndorff and the Monster Magnet guys Torche have mastered that fuzzed out low end jam that very few manage to do, which is evident on Slide. The first epic moment of the album comes with Times Missing, a simpler monotone riff with drummer Rick Smith showing that less is sometimes more, accentuating the riff by knowing exactly when to drop out. This is a band that are fully aware of, and play off, each other’s strengths. The power pop element of the band comes into play with Admission a more upbeat number reminiscent of Sonic Youth in their prime. Reminder is indeed a reminder that the band never stray far from their stoner roots and is a slow lurching beast. By far the heaviest track on the album, for those who prefer Torche that way, is Infireno. Listen closely you can practically hear the strings flapping. For the finale they’ve opted for the positivity of Changes Come where the guitars soar just as much as Brooks voice.

Torche have taken all their various influences, thrown them into a pot and the result is Admission. It’s another fine album to add to an already faultless back catalogue. Stoners, doomers, and fans of massive riffs, the soundtrack to summer 2019 has arrived, so open a beer, drop the needle, put your  feet up and lose yourself in Admission. Chris Andrews

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