Torche - In Return (Cover Artwork)


In Return (2007)

Robotic Empire

Something interesting is happening down in Low Country. Almost like the okra used to thicken their soups and stews, massive guitar riffs and Orange amplification have surfaced as thickeners to the region's metal bands. Key among these Southern riff monsters is Florida's Torche, who are descendents of singer/guitarist Steve Brooks' previous band Floor. While Torche released their self-titled debut in 2005, they have, uh...returned, with a new EP entitled In Return.

And this is a good thing, especially if you enjoyed the band's debut full-length. If you are unfamiliar with the band, that should not discourage you from checking out this EP. However, this EP really feels more like a continuation of the band's debut, primarily because the songs on the EP were recorded in 2005. This should not take away from the quality of the songs, but existing Torche fans should also not expect anything new. That will be coming in 2008. However, new listeners would be well-served to pick up this EP as an excellent introduction to the band.

Speaking of introductions, I think the first track "Warship" is about as ominous an opening song as it can get and it perfectly encapsulates the Torche sound. The song essentially consists of two or three simple doomy riffs over mid-tempo, war-like drums, and then the full band roars behind the initial guitar riffs. It is not hard to imagine a massive dreadnought coming over the horizon when listening to this song. So, with that introduction, the band races into the title track of "In Return," a simple Torche affair where the thickened guitars scorch the terrain with the tempo of a pop-punk song, but then veer into a cavernous breakdown. The rest of the EP plays out more or less like the opening tracks, but the observant listener will note how much the songs evoke the imagery that their titles convey. With the song "Olympus Mons," for example, it difficult not to imagine a sweeping Marscape with a massive red mountain rising above the terrain.

With the EP being available as a ridiculously elaborate CD/10" package with some vibrant artwork from John Baizley and what could only be described as "humid production," this purchase should seem like a no-brainer for both new listeners and current Torche fans. The only major issue with this EP is that why, over the course of two years, the band didn't record any material that might tease us as to what's coming up next year. Still, Torche does a great job of marrying poppier tempos and vocals with monster riffs, and this EP continues this tradition.

[originaly written for Pastepunk]