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[ALBUM REVIEW] Touché Amoré: Stage Four

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Back with their powerfully evocative sound, Touché Amoré present album number four. Aptly titled Stage Four, this album proves the band’s dedication to their unique take on post-hardcore. All eleven songs perfectly embody raw emotion with a beautifully heavy musical backdrop.

Flowers and You kicks off the album with an uncomplicated guitar melody and rhythm combo. It’s crisp and clean and a nice contrast against Jeremy Bolm’s impassioned vocals. New Halloween follows and is truly reminiscent of classic Touché Amoré. The opening lyrics draw on the nostalgic vibe of past albums, while quick drums and unrefined rhythms accompany Bolm’s voice with ease.

Third track Rapture is a sombre number featuring deep and drawn-out melodic sections. The end of the song features simplified instrumentation and spoke-sung vocals that create a sound similar to  Brand New. Displacement and Benediction follow, which features the excellent work of guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt on the album. Although Stage Four remains true to the long-established sound of the band, the album also demonstrates melodic experimentation which offers a nice contrast against Bolm’s powerful vocals.

Eight Seconds is a minute-and-a-half long tribute to the simpler elements intrinsic to Touché Amoré’s unique style, before first single Palm Dreams delivers a sentimental message about family and loss beneath catchy vocal hooks and strong melodies. Softer Spoken is another brief track, saturated with palpable emotion musically and lyrically.

Closing tracks Water Damage and Skyscraper round out the record, with Bolm interchanging spoken word and expressive vocals against a backdrop of enormous musical depth. The latter abandons the raw emotion of the previous 10 tracks, showcasing instead Bolm’s vocal capabilities alongside a slower tempo and soaring melodies, closing “Stage Four,” on a fittingly dark tone.

There are few faults to be found in Touché Amoré’s Stage Four. In true Touché Amoré style, each track is saturated with enough emotion to rip your heart out and tear it to shreds.

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