Torche – Restarter Relapse Records, 2015

While I couldn’t help but fall in love with Torche’s previous full-length, Harmonicraft, that record did represent a conscious shift toward the band’s poppier and more accessible influences. Despite the warm day-glow punk euphoria of that album, the lack of their signature crunchy “bomb string” guitar was noted with some sadness.

Their Harmonslaught single from that same year more than made up for that absence – and this album doesn’t disappoint on that front either. Restarter quadruples down on a low end heavier than antimony and lead without sacrificing their soaring melodic sensibilities. If you do want some bomb string, you’re in luck, but even without it the songs here are thicker, sludgier, denser than ever.

The resulting album is notably a more fatiguing and less varied listen, but it’s rewarding because of its shift back to the band’s bone-rattling, earthquake-rousing roots. Pieces such as “Minions”, “Blasted” and the closing title-track are particularly wonderful fully saturated heavy metal pop gems.

You know what? It’s all fucking great.

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