Artist / Band / Musician
Robotic Empire/Rock Action/Hydra Head
Torche are a difficult band to describe in simple sound bytes. Over the past eight years this Miami, Florida-based rock act have toured with everyone from Mogwai to Circa Survive and Pelican to Big Business, however their sound doesn't conform to any particular scene or subgenre. Instead the band—frontman Steve Brooks, bassist Jonathan Nuñez, drummer Rick Smith and new guitarist/vocalist Andrew Elstner—prefer to create the music that they want to hear and the result is a sound that's unique unto themselves.
Correspondingly the band's follow-up to 2008's Meanderthal—which was voted the #1 Album Of The Year by Decibel magazine—sees the band further developing their love of fuzz-drenched opuses and giving their fans more of the cerebral chaos that they've grown to love. "I know that every band always says that their latest album is their best disc to date but there really is a new energy to the band and I think you can really hear that in the music," Brooks explains. "We get along better than we ever have in the past; it's like a rebirth for Torche in many ways."
This rebirth is largely due to the recent addition of Elstner (a veteran of acts like Riddle Of Steel and Tilts) who joined Torche following their 2010 release Songs For Singles, which was recorded as a trio. "Prior to joining the band Andrew learned all of our old songs, so I think he was a little surprised when he walked into our first practice last year and we told him that we were writing all new songs," Brooks recalls with a laugh. However even though he was the new guy Elstner embraced the writing process and adds that "everything was super collaborative from the vocal melodies to the lyrics on Harmonicraft."
Once again tirelessly recorded and self-produced at Nuñez's own studio, Harmonicraft is Torche in their most unfiltered form and the result is a collection of songs that prove that heavy music can be progressive without being predictable. From the relentless groove of "Roaming" to the melodic grandeur of "Kicking" and sinister syncopation of "In Pieces," Harmonicraft stretches toward the sonic stratosphere and illustrates that the band are growing tighter and more powerful with each passing release. In fact just a cursory glance at the cover art—which features dinosaurs, volcanoes and rainbows—proves that Torche's creativity truly knows no bounds.
"I'm totally pumped that we were able to do this record ourselves because we had so much creative control and I think we were able to take advantage of all the best aspects of self-recording," Elstner explains. However when the mixing came around the band enlisted the help of previous collaborator and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou who helped bring a well-informed outside perspective to these songs. "Having Kurt involved definitely streamlined the process of recording this album in a positive way," Elstner continues. "He gave it a really unifying feel from start to finish so the final album is really cohesive and never feels disjointed or thrown together."
Despite the countless labels that have been bestowed on them ultimately Torche prefer to let their music speak for itself… and if previous acclaim is any indication it seems like plenty of people are listening. "I think the problem with subgenres is that sometimes people don't see us for what we really are," Brooks explains. "We're just a rock band but we get labeled all these different things that I don't even understand; I just want to play with the bands we respect and that could be anyone," he continues.
"It's cool we can play with a band like Mogwai and then play with High On Fire, I like the freedom to be able to play with all types of bands and not feel out of place," he summarizes. "I can honestly say I'm more confident than I've ever been with Harmonicraft and I just can't wait to for people to hear it." So sit back, turn it up and let the album transport you to a new sonic realm that's as heady as it is heavy. Consider yourself warned.
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