TORCHE — Meanderthal (review)

TORCHE — Meanderthal album cover Album · 2008 · Stoner Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
BitterJalapeno
Released in Spring of 2008, “Meanderthal” is the second studio album from Floridian stoner metal outfit Torche – a band comprising members of sludge metal bands Floor and Cavity. Vocalist and guitarist Steve Brooks continues Floor’s legacy of combining crushingly heavy riffs with melodic clean vocals to great effect. Stoner metal is not the first thing that springs to mind when listening to “Meanderthal” but pop-tinged sludge - something akin to a fusion of Cavity and Jimmy Eat World with a trace of psychedelic rock thrown in.

The aptly titled opener “Triumph of Venus” gets things off to a superb start with it’s ultra downtuned and heavy rhythm guitar alongside powerful, thundering drums and layers of triumphantly blistering lead guitar which is reminiscent of the more melodic side of Mastodon and really sets things up nicely for the remainder of the album.

Unusually, the dirty sludge riffs and chord progressions tend to be played in a major key which, alongside the highly melodic vocals, provides a sun-soaked, accessible form of sludge which I find equally uplifting and addictive although at the same time, I can appreciate that few bands would be capable of pulling off this mix of sounds successfully. The album reaches its sludgiest point on the penultimate and final tracks “Amnesian” and “Meanderthal” which alongside “Grenades” and the aforementioned opener “Triumph of Venus” are the biggest highlights of the album for me.

“Meanderthal” is not an album which displays huge amounts of variance or technical complexity so clocking in at a shade over 36 minutes in length is entirely appropriate for the style of music as it negates the chance of growing prematurely stale.

I would highly recommend this album to fans of Floor and to any open minded metal fan willing to look past the accessible and poppy qualities mentioned above and try something a bit different. A great uplifting release and great summer listening.
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