I am the first person to admit that generally I am not the world’s biggest fan of the sludge/stoner scene, but being completely unfamiliar with Torche’s previous work, I, as with every review I write, approached Restarter with an open mind, and I was pleasantly surprised. From a musical standpoint, I found Retarter fun to listen to.
Opening with a huge sounding “Annihilation Affair”, its driving guitar riff and attacking drum beat sets the tone for the rest of the album within the opening seconds.
Torche pound forward through the song to the closing section which, when the almost hypnotic drum beat is combined with the guitar sounds, is nothing short of psychedelic.
My personal favourite track on Restarter is “Bishop In Arms”. The high tempo, the drums and the riff sound like the song will run away at any moment, yet is is held in place by the mid-tempo vocals and the well-timed break. These elements certainly make it very interesting listening.
The vocals very much put me in the mind of the tones of a certain Peter Gabriel at time which suits what Torche do on this album down to the ground. This is a big help in keeping the band’s sound refreshing.
As much as I love how Restarter sounds both musically familiar and different, I do think it does suffer one big very unfortunate problem: no matter how much tweaking I did to the settings of my sound setup, the bass was far to high in the mix and it overpowered everything else. This makes Restarter lose a lot of the definition of the other sounds throughout the songs, making it nearly impossible to hear any of the finer points of what the band do.
To summarize, throughout the album there are hints of really good riffs, as well as some interesting and powerful drum beats. Unfortunately, hints were all I could hear as a result of the bass heavy mix. While I will revisit Restarter again later on, I’m left wondering following my initial listen about some of the vocals as I was unable to clearly hear them, as well as the riffs I couldn’t quiet make out. This, I’m afraid, kills my review score.
Written by Paul Foxon