Hailing from Miami, FL, Torche have been producing consistently thrilling melodic metal since 2005. Their recently released fourth album Restarter is the best thing I’ve heard so far this year.
Officially this was my first time seeing the band despite loving their adrenaline fuelled stoner rock from when I first heard their second album, 2008’s Meanderthal. Sickness wasn’t keeping me away this time although a headache threatened to derail my evening. The headache would be blasted away mere minutes after walking into Lee’s Palace.
Led by Steve Brooks, the four piece launched into a trio of tracks from Meanderthal starting with “Pirana” and wouldn’t let off the throttle for almost 90 minutes.
Restarter trades in some of the poppier elements from 2012’s Harmonicraft for intensity. Brooks still knows his way with a melody so if the rushing guitars don’t reel you in, a hook will. Almost all of Restarted was aired and the packed house roared in approval as a section of the floor moshed and tossed the odd crowd surfer up.
Musically the band was tight, furious and full of energy which fed the songs and the crowd. Brookes remarked early in the night about being born into the Kiss Army and being inspired by Paul Stanley. His goofy harming it up during songs (the tongue, awesome guitar faces and cocksure guitar showmanship) lacked the mentor’s pretension and self-importance and really lent to a heavy Saturday party vibe. Not only did they sound awesome filling every nook in the packed house with glorious noise, they were having a blast doing it.
Brooks’ rousing vocals were a little low in the mix but still managed to rev up highlights “Kicking” and a trio of tracks from Restarter to close out the set that climaxed with “Annihilation Affair”. Twenty songs of 90 minutes offered great economy and I could have listened to twenty more. I will not miss them again and officially I now have a serious man-crush on Brooks.
Opening the night first were fellow Miami band, Wrong, who pummeled those lucky enough to get to Lee’s early with a sludgy molten mix that for me recalled a heavier Helmet. Touring behind an EP, the four piece were ferocious, instantly knocking my headache north of Bloor Street.
Philadelphia’s Nothing assaulted a bigger crowd with piercing guitar noise, a stark contrast to Wrong’s bottom heavy sound. Another four piece but with two vocalists, the band threw themselves around the stage and slashed at their instruments like their lives were on the line. While the crowd’s response might have been a bit muted, it might have been the immense noise that overwhelmed the crowd into passivity.