Okay, I’ll confess. Despite knowing they’d been around for a good fifteen years, and knowing that they had a solid following, I cannot honestly say I knew anything about Torche, nor their music. It’s not that anything about their reputation put me off, it’s just that with so much music in the world, it’s just not something I had made time for. As such, I approached their latest release ‘Admission’ without any preconceptions.
The album started thunderously enough with a barrage of riffing care of the frantic ‘From Here’, the pummelling drums being a contrast to the harmonised vocals, the song hardly getting started before finishing at barely a minute an a half long before ‘Submission’ fires in, a number that for me emphasised the almost industrial sound of their music. The drums were precise, augmented by looping tight riffs, and vocals that took me back to the days of my youth when a certain Mr Gary Numan was a fresh new sound, rather than the elder musical statesman that so many look up to these days.
‘Slide’ continues the formula, but with a more laid back feel, the lyrics delivered in a less frantic fashion, bringing a loser trippy ambience that again contrasts with the near mechanical precision of the instrumentation, the strident guitar solo bringing to mind some of the playing of Reeves Gabrels (if you don’t know that name, it’s well worth looking up especially for his ‘Tin Machine’ work) at his most experimental. Not apparently wanting to the give the listener a second to rest, Torche again sprints through ‘Near Miss’ before bringing the pace down again with ‘Times Missing’, the gentler delivery sounding like an well oiled engine just ticking over, the underlying power of their musicianship being barely restrained, always present, and just waiting to be let loose.
The centrepiece of the album is without a doubt the title track ‘Admission’, which whilst far from the heaviest on the album, feels the most massive, the instruments building a huge wall of sound, the 90’s new wave sounding guitars building on the foundation of the machine like percussion of Rick Smith.
‘Admission’ is laden with hooks, and definitely deserves repeated listens, something that is helped by the fact that despite having numbers like the doom tinged ‘Extremes of Consciousness’ on board that could in the hands of more self indulgent artists be allowed to go on and on, in reality it clocks in at under three minutes, meaning that no track overstays its welcome or starts to lose focus. Not as angry as Nine Inch Nails, not as prone to fretwankery as Mastodon, and simply not as bonkers as Ministry, ‘Admission’ is nonetheless an album that could hold its own against any of those, yet still having a wider rock appeal that may allow it to reach further out to those mainstream audiences that could be put off by the perceived impenetrability of those aforementioned acts.