By Keith Carman"I need a mixture of melody and doom. I think we have a good combination of that,” says guitarist Juan Montoya about Miami-based quartet Torche. "We’re like Cheap Trick combined with Sabbath…maybe a bit of Pink Floyd’s spaciness.”
Rounded out by guitarist/singer Steve Brooks, bassist Jonathan Nuñez and drummer Rick Smith, Torche has completed their anticipated sophomore album Meanderthal with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, Ghengis Tron). Yet while the band continues to receive praise both critical and fanatical, Montoya says they’ve never been ones to succumb to their own hype. That is, until they won over their typically gruff producer.
"Kurt was surprised at times. He’s a fun guy but he doesn’t show a lot of emotion. In his own way, he showed some excitement. We were worried because we only came in with seven songs [but] ended up dishing out 13 for the record. A lot of it was improvised, so when we were recording, Kurt was going, ‘Dude, I don’t know about this…’ He eventually told me that halfway through recording, he didn’t think the album was gonna be done but [we] nailed it. To get that type of reaction out of him was redeeming.”Whipped out in a mere two weeks, Montoya is enthusiastic that the laissez-faire approach to Meanderthal amplifies the captivating hooks and crunching grind of both their eponymous 2005 debut and 2007’s In Return EP.
"There are a lot of special things about this record. Even though it’s only 35 minutes long, it drills at you and keeps your attention. These songs are sharper, shorter and a bit faster. It’s funny because bands like Metallica take two years to record an album. We did ours in two weeks. When people take too long to record, the energy of the album gets lost. It becomes confusing and fights break out between members. We just dished it out, barely taking breaks. It was exciting.”