Restart My Heart: Torche’s Restarter Reviewed

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I’ve written before about the strange things that come from Florida. The bizarre occurrences and crimes, the strange characters that make the cast of Grand Theft Auto appear down to earth and relatable, the old people. Indeed, weird shit is what Florida excels at, and the cream of the strange crop just might be Miami’s own Torche.

Now in case you’re unaware, Torche isn’t just good at making you look like an idiot when you attempt to pronounce their name, they’re also pretty good at merging some crushing sludge with glorious pop sensibilities. If you’ve never listened to Torche you may be scratching your head at that sentiment, but it really does (mostly) work. In fact, it just might work better than ever on Restarter.

One thing that leaps out upon first listen is that the spacey leads of Harmonicraft are fewer and farther between, replaced by bigger grooves and more atmosphere than seen on previous albums. In fact, 4 of Restarter’s 10 tracks crack the 4 minute mark, which is practically unheard of for Torche. It absolutely works, though. Longer songs like “Annihilation Affair” and “Minions” are allowed to stretch their legs and breathe, sinking into some seriously hypnotizing grooves, and in the case of the former, even devolve into a bit of controlled chaos.

That isn’t to say there aren’t some bubblegum pop bangers present. “Bishop in Arms” opens with an upbeat quickness and some oddly wonderful harmonized wailing before settling in on one of the catchiest choruses on the entire album. Other brief cuts like “Loose Men” (what a fantastic title) and “Blasted” sound like they could fit in at any point on Harmonicraft without missing a beat. Certainly not a bad thing.

While a lot of people are big fans of the poppier numbers, I much prefer the mid tempo songs the band produces. The aforementioned songs break into your skull and plant traces of themselves all about before disappearing, the more methodically paced ones entrance and draw you in for an exciting (albeit brief) adventure of sorts. “Believe It” hypnotizes with a catchy lead guitar line and “Barrier Hammer” moves like steamroller guided by the voice of Steve Brooks, and all you can do is stand there and let it run you down. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my personal favorite track, “Undone.” If you replaced Brooks’ vocals with standard death metal fare, you’d have one of the most destructive tracks of the year. But why would you wanna do that?

That breathing room that I mentioned earlier works very well for the 4 minute cuts on the album, but the title track (and album closer) was perhaps given a bit too much space. There’s a fine line between hypnotizing groove and overly repetitive riffs. “Restarter” begins to grow dull near the 5 minute mark… which means you still have 3 minutes of the same exact thing to look forward to. It’s a disappointing way to end the album, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Of all the words I’ve used to describe this album, one I haven’t used yet is fun, and this album is certainly a lot of that. Even at its most paced moments, Restarter brings an undeniable sense of joy. It’s an album you could toss on at a party and get everybody jamming to. At the end of the day, I think that might be what keeps bringing me back to this album. It doesn’t hurt that Restarter is  Torche’s best album to date, either.

NO FLUSH

Restarter is out February 24th on Relapse. Get it here.

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  • Great review, Bear. I really liked the shorter, catchier songs on Harmonicraft but this album has a kind of jamminess I dig.

  • Reposted Avenged Sevenfold Fan

    This band has the best instrumentalists. Not even 30 Seconds to Mars can beat them.

    -moose4life19, 1 week ago

    • CyberneticOrganism

      I don’t know, 30 Seconds To Mars had one of their songs used in a commercial

      • Guacamole Jim

        Fair rebuttal.

      • Dagon

        They also have Jared Leto as a frontman. How can you beat that? He looks soooooo good.

    • Alex P.

      If this is true can someone recommend me an instrumental song, if there is one, of this band’s? I’m truly not very interested, the vocals aren’t quite my style, but guitar, bass and drums speak my language, too.

      • HessianHunter

        #theusernamegivesyouaclueabouttheofftopicjoke

        • Alex P.

          I figured there may still have been some truth to it.

      • Cultural Tourist

        Try Harmonicraft

    • EsusMoose

      I’m disgusted someone who also has moose in their name could support their opinion with such a terrible comparison.

    • Leif Bearikson

      You’re the best account.

  • VVayne Brady

    Adult Swim pronounce it “Torch,” but I’ve always said “Torsh.” What’s a girl to do?

    https://vimeo.com/15396815

    • MoshOff

      I’ve always said “Torch” and never thought twice about it haha.

    • Reading it you would think its pronounced “tor-shay”.

      • JWG

        Maybe if they were from Louisiana I’d believe that.

        It’s clearly just “Torch”. Because America.

    • Dagon’s Shocked Right Nipple

      Isn’t it just an unpronounced e at the end?

    • Leif Bearikson

      I pronounce it “Torch” but I know people who pronounce it “Tor-shay” and at least one person who pronounces it “Tor-sha”

  • I dug what I’ve heard of this album so far. Need to familiarize myself with it a little more. Torche is very good at combining the heavy riffs with melodic vocals.

  • thanks for the killer review! i’ve always listened to the band casually, but after this great recommendation i’m going to really sink into it

  • It’s not as immediately enjoyable as Harmonicraft but I hope it grows on me. Good work, giant bear.

    • Dagon

      Meanderthal clicked sooner for me, but I guess the doomier cuts towards the end of that album may turn you off.

      • I’m not opposed to SOME doom. The extremes of the genre just annoy me. Nobody got time to listen to one riff for 20 fucking minutes.

        • CyberneticOrganism
        • Dagon

          That is, indeed, annoying. More so if you have a crappy drummer.

        • some people call it drones, some other call it “artistic liberties”, some other call it boring, some other call it lack of ideas, some other call it “i don’t know how to play this guitar stuff, so I will just stroke two chords in 16:56 minutes with high fuzz, echo and distortion and say to everyone that I’m performing psychedelic inducing altered mental states”.

          I call it: lack of songwriting if the band/artist/musician don’t know what’s doing.

        • EsusMoose

          One of my favorite songs does half that and I’ll post it because #thuglife https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtTKpRArrS8

        • That’s the #1 reason most doom turns me off, I do not have the patience nor the attention span to listen to the longer songs.

    • Leif Bearikson

      Yea, it really took a while for this one to grab me, but once it clicked I pretty much listened to it daily.

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    This album has some great groove to it.

  • I never listened this band. After my daily dose of merol I will go for this. Thanks, oso con bigotes! <3

  • Guacamole Jim

    Great review! I’m looking forward to pulling a NegroD and listening to this once I’m off work (forgot my headphones today).

    • Guacamelee today:

      • MoshOff

        I feel like Guacamelee should be a category in Lucha Libre fights.

        • EsusMoose

          It is a video game, I heard it was quite good but I haven’t decided to buy it. Maybe during the next steam sale.

          • I knew that I pulled the Guacamelee in something 😛 I never played that game, even don’t know what’s about, but I read the name sometimes and it’s just stuck .

          • EsusMoose

            I think it’s kinda like an old school platformer but you’re a masked luchador who fights what luchadors typically fight, ghosts, demons,etc

          • that sounds tempting. I don’t play new games and I like old school stuff :3

          • EsusMoose

            I recommend looking into, or wait till I get it in a while and actually try it. I’d hope the music is good because if it’s what I imagine it’d be I’d be a happy moose luchador

      • Guacamole Jim

        That’s pretty much exactly it.

    • MoshOff

      I’m alone at the office so I’m catching up on music, great use of company bandwidth for sure.

  • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

    This was an awesome review of an awesone album. I won’t be surprised if this makes my top 10 for the year.

  • Hey, I was stalking their fan page and they are doing this weird promo with Relapse Records in which you have to beat a videogame the fast as you can to win a pack with a vinyl version of this new album, t-shirt and tickets. This is a great way to do a promotion, it rulz: https://www.facebook.com/torcheofficial/photos/a.201723259870751.49842.194680127241731/877966558913081/?type=1&theater

  • EsusMoose

    What style are they and what albums of theirs should I try? I’m gonna jam the Mars Volta for a while but I’ve wanted to give Torch(e) a try.

    • I asked the same! 😛

      Looking in their lastfm page: their most listened album in that network is called Meanderthal, seconded by Harmonicraft. I think I will listen the first:

      http://www.lastfm.es/music/Torche/Meanderthal

      • HessianHunter

        Meanderthal is widely considered their best work. It’s a great place to start.

        • Thanks, baby pumpkin. I think I can handle this. The three songs I listened from the bandcamp Leif’s shared have vibes that I dig 🙂

          • Dagon

            Meanderthal has been my favorite also, but it might give in to Restarter. Harmonicraft is definitely the most “pop” they ever got, which in their case is not a bad thing.

    • It’s catchy sludge-y type stuffs. They’re really good at pop melodies.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1obEt5dmmo

      • EsusMoose

        If it’s what I imagine I’ll probably like it but might still take my a few listens to get accustom to their writing. Artificial Brains took 3-4 listens before I really started to love it

      • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

        Now I remember these guys! HATED HATED HATED that video!

    • Try Meanderthal, that’s their 1st one and a good introduction to their sound.

      http://youtu.be/Fm1lo7H-_jk

  • Dagon

    I fucking love me some Torche. I definitely agree with everything you said about the album, this is heavier and less sugary compared to Harmonicraft. The songwriting is also more refined.

  • This is great stuff! Probably gonna grab all the albums this week. Thanks you cuddly, mustachioed bear, you!

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    For some reason I thought I didn’t like this band. Turns out I do like this band. Thanks, shitty memory.

  • Dagon

    Undone is my favorite track so far. Torche used to be one of the top 6 bands in my Last.FM page back when I still used it. They combine my favorite guitar tone (which is fuzzed the fuck out) with just enough pop sensibilities to craft infectious songs. Replay value is absurd.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    This stuff is pretty cool, never really gave them a shot before now. Good writeup!

  • Unfortunately, I just can’t get into this band. I’m unsure what about it I dislike. The music just doesn’t grab me. I’m glad to see that other people like it. People should like the things they like.

  • VVayne Brady

    Harmonicraft didn’t do much for me, but I’m jamming this album.

  • OldMetalHead

    This is utterly and completely inoffensive (kinda like Blue Moon). It’s a nice break from my current diet of melo/tech death.

    • Blue Moon is quite offensive. Blech.

      • OldMetalHead

        Really? I’m somewhat of a beer snob, and I usually go for something more interesting, but I can drink these all night. What’s your go to beer?

        • I, too, am a beer snob–when the paycheck permits it. I deliver beer professionally, and every time I break a Blue Moon it makes me want to heave.

          I really dig Bells brewery, and the local Phoenix brewery Santan. Dogfish head is pretty great. When I can’t afford anything snobbish, I swill the High Life.

          • OldMetalHead

            Nice! 90 minute IPA was my favorite for quite a while.

          • Tried the 120 once. It was . . . syrupy.

          • OldMetalHead

            If you get the chance try this. It almost isn’t a beer anymore. http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1339/15274/

          • Heh. Do you drink that with a spoon?

            Is there such thing as a quintupel? (quintuppel??)

          • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

            If you have a Walgreens near you that sells beer, they now have Big Flats on sale, $2.99 for a 6 pack. Utter swill, but can’t argue with the price!

          • I live in proximity to at least 10 such Walgreenszes. Can’t shop for booze there, though–deathly afraid of sickly old snowbirds.

      • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

        Any beer you have to add fruit to = fail on a grand scale. (I’m looking at you, Corona!)

        http://www.gifbin.com/bin/250yu273swsw.gif

  • NefariousDude

    I really liked harmonicraft. the new album is still growing on me

  • RustyShackleford

    Never really given these guys a legit full album listen, but I like everything I hear from them. Definitely catchy, gonna download this album and make sure I get their other stuff. Would love to see them live seem like it would be SUPER fun. If they could tour with like Mastodon/Kvelertak/Red Fang I would be giddy as hell. Yup

  • HessianHunter

    Man, the title track is a banger. I love when a really sick riff just gets driven into your skull foreverandeverandever.

  • Stockhausen

    This sounds tasty. I’ll hit it up when I’m not in school.

  • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

    Hated this band before, but this isn’t half bad. In an odd way, reminds me a bit of Godflesh.

  • Gluteus_Maximus_Rage

    A week ago I spent $40.36 Australian ($30US for those of you playing at home) for a Torche T-shirt. That’s how much I dig the band. Dig this album too. And the previous one, and the previous one…

    • Gluteus_Maximus_Rage

      Dunno why this didn’t work before…

  • Virgil the Ghost Poet

    OK bear, I will give torches another try. I bought sings for singles and fucking hated it. So I will look for it and give it another try.

    • Dang. I really love “Out Again”.

      • Virgil the Ghost Poet

        I’ll give it an honest listen. I didn’t like floor either.

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    Been meaning to check these guys out for a while. Thanks for the review, it definitely bumped them further up the list.