TORIA

Progressive Metal • Latvia
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Toria is a 4-piece band and a musical experiment from Vidzeme, Latvia, formed in late 2008. The band only released one album before disbanding. They toured extensively in their short time across Europe.
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TORIA Octave album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Octave
Progressive Metal 2014

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TORIA Octave

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
TORIA was an all instrumental Latvian post-rock band that formed in the city of Valmiera in 2008 and soon found itself touring with various foreign post-rock / metal acts that were of a similar style such as The Ocean, The Grand Astoria, Khuda and Khroma. Consisting of Oskars Liukis (guitar, keyboards), Reinis Rijnieks (guitar), Tīna Tilčika (bass) and Artis Avotiņš (drums), the band released its first self-titled EP the very next year in 2009 and spent the next few years doing the tour circuit. In 2013 newbie drummer Rihards Špacs replaced Avotiņš and by 2014 the band released its first and last full-length album OCTAVE.

Existing on the boundaries of post-rock and post-metal, OCTAVE showcases the band’s tender side with a propensity to experiment with electronics as heard on the feedback loop of “Snow Crystals” just as much as exhibiting a wilder side with the speedier “Clear The Mist” which even showcases a blistering metal guitar solo, more in the vein of the sludge metal of Mastodon than the average post-rock band but what keeps this band from actually falling into the post-metal section of the world of prog is that the post-rock never strays from from the metal riffing accompaniments.

The album features eight tracks and a playing time of just under 35 minutes. Typical of post-rock, TORIA nurtures cyclical rhythmic loops into crescendoing frenzies however TORIA is a lot more dynamic in how it simply jumps into the high octane guitar, bass and drumming sections that allowed to rock out without putting on the brakes but somehow the tender post-rock piano runs and warm atmospheres are set high enough in the mix to never find themselves suffocating or struggling to be heard. On the contrary the balance is absolute perfection as the two disparate styles have made a truce and thus learn to respect each other’s turf.

“Urban Wasteland” almost sounds like some of the zany psytrance of Infected Mushroom with crazy electronica embellishments whizzing around in the company of a guitar lick and background vocals mimicking the melody. The music then takes on a djent guitar staccato before ceding into the electronic wizardry once again. The following “Water Of The Sun” sounds like a totally different track with the focus on clean echoey guitars that are right out of the post-rock playbook but manages to break into some sludgy metal towards the end for a short while. “Facing The Universe” sort of takes the echoey guitar effects of the previous track and simply adds the metal elements making it an echoey metal track instead.

The track “Chasing Storm” manages to sound like a post-rock track only on full metal behavior and is the heaviest headbanger on board with incessant guitar chugs and light on the post-rock. This one actually qualifies as atmospheric sludge metal. The closing “Into The Wild” features some of the craziest time signatures and although starting out on simmer continues on into a metal frenzy. Highly atmospheric and bass groove driven the twin guitars dance up and down the scales in harmony. These guys manage to get some great tones out of their instruments, especially in the guitars. The album also has a magnificent production job with soft parts feeling truly sensual and the metal heft feeling full and powerful.

This is really a unique band. I’m not sure i’ve encountered one that walks the line between post-rock and progressive post-metal so efficiently. The band is so competent at both that it effortlessly switches back and forth between styles like seasoned pros. This was a true surprise as the overall ratings and reactions seem not to favor this interesting release. A very mature and individuated band sound here. It’s no wonder why these guys were picked up by so many foreign bands for the touring circuit. It’s just too bad that they didn’t release more product. I’d love to hear more from TORIA. One of Latvia’s hidden gems.

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