Review by Derek J. Huckel
Restarter is the fourth album for Torche and my first to hear of theirs, despite hearing of them for a while. I was ready to dismiss Torche as a type of Helmet rip-off band, with a stoner pop type, not-metal, sound that lumbers with a constant key of feedback throughout and monotone vocals, like Helmet successfully used. What I thought I’d heard before to be representative of them was all similar and no melody involved but I was proven wrong in places.
It starts off with the plodding Annihilation Affair. It has elements that intrigue, but these are largely left undeveloped and overall leaves me disinterested and cold – not a great opener in my mind. Barrier Hammer, later in the album, had the same effect. Bishop in Arms was a welcome change, it’s more inviting with changes in its beats. Some of the tunes on this album had glimpses of being reminiscent of olde pop tunes, Jesus Jones flicked into my mind here – I think due to Brooks vocals and some of the chords in Bishop in Arms.
Loose Man is more catchy with a lot more melody rather than the drone of some of the tunes. Minions and Blasted are other favourites. Undone is more punishing than these, but it’s only a cool short blast of an idea that is sadly the shortest track on this album.
No Servants brings it back a notch in the pace but its very catchy. The epic title track, Restarter, follows which has some of the malaise of the opening track but if you stick with it and let yourself drawn in to its aural arms, during its eight minutes your opinion will change. Rock ‘n’ Roll Mantasy, interesting title, is a great closing track which feels like the end of a movie where you know they’re implying a sequel is intended.. Bring it.
Some reviewers have said Brooks’ vocals as well as their identity, are harmonic and most inspiring, but I looked and overall, I didn’t find them to be too engaging. The lyrics are intriguing though, letting the music talk and as a believer in ‘less is more’ with words seemingly about society and relationships.
Many say its a welcome return to an earlier style Torche. Some tunes are flashy but these are few. Still this album is somehow magnetic. Possibly its mainly one for the fans but it lends itself to newbies to be drawn in. I’m intrigued to see where they’ll go from here.