“Harmonicraft” is the third album of the Florida-based quartet Torche, led by guitarist and vocalist Steve Brooks (of recently reunited Floor). This is also the second Torche album to be produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou. The band is known for its catchy and almost ‘pop’ approach to the Sludge/Stoner rock genre, despite Brooks using an extremely low guitar tuning he named ‘Drop Z’.
So, Torche deliver yet another album that could only be described as a Riffosaurus Rex, and fits well with their discography so far. As soon as the album opens with Letting Go, the band drops into a no-nonsense, balls-out hard rock anthem. And when the track finishes, you’re not even given a chance to digest it as you’re thrown into the first single of the album Kicking, another song filled with massive riffs and hooks that would not go amiss in a stadium during the end of the world.
Again, not a chance is given for a last note to ring out, Walk It Off kicks in – a song that should be called ‘driving-through-the-desert-at-100mph-in-a-vintage-car’. Being one of the shortest on the album (clocking in at 1:26) it is also one of the more aggressive tracks, yet sounds like a metal party tune that encourages trashing rooms and shotgunning beers.
The following few tracks are pretty standard Torche tracks, which is far from a derogative statement in this band’s case. Kiss Me Dudely has a chorus that makes you want to punch your fist in the air, while Solitary takes a more morose and soothing mood, another song that wouldn’t go amiss during the last moments of mankind. The title track (Harmonicraft, an instrumental) has a more progressive rock feel, opening with a high-end riff that delves into the brooding lows, almost challenging you to air-guitar.
There is not much more that can be said for “Harmonicraft” that’s been previously mentioned. If there are gripes with the album, then it might not be the kind of album you would listen to if you were mourning the end of a relationship or need something to relax to. However, for rocking parties and cracking a few beers with your friends – then this is perfect. If there ever was a teacher to guide bands into making riffs that would tick both the “heavy” and “catchy” boxes without jeopardising one over the other, Steve Brooks would be your man.
Favourite tracks: Walk It Off, Kicking, Harmonicraft.