By Denise FalzonMiami's Torche recently released their third full-length Harmonicraft, the follow-up to 2008's acclaimed Meanderthal and 2010's Songs for Singles EP, which Exclaim! named the best metal release of that year. But in an interview with Exclaim!, frontman Steve Brooks maintains that he disagrees with Torche being called a metal band.
"We're not a metal band," he says. "We have parts that are metal influenced, but we also have a lot of power pop and punk influences, which would piss off a lot of metal fans. So I can't really consider us metal, it's just hard, loud rock."
Brooks says he categorizes the band as "hard rock" because their music is too diverse to be labelled as a specific sub-genre.
"If you're going to categorize us as something, you're going to be really disappointed because if there's a sub-genre that we're lumped in with, we're going to do something that's going to be right outside of that box at some point, and it's going to confuse you," he explains. "I think that's why we've always confused people.
"We just have a hybrid rock sound, we do what we want. I mean, there's elements of metal, there's elements of classic rock, pop and all kinds of stuff. There's a lot of '80s pop influence, that's just what we do. So I just call it hard rock, it doesn't limit us. And there's only one real stoner in the band so we've kept some stoner rock in there too."
With Harmonicraft, Torche have moved further away from the realm of stoner and sludge metal to more of a spacey, doom-pop sound. Self-produced and mixed by Converge's Kurt Ballou, Harmonicraft is filled with catchy hooks and pop melodies, as well as progressive, atmospheric rhythms.
Brooks explains that the group's newest member, guitarist Andrew Elstner, has had a big impact on the band's sound.
"He writes great stuff and it goes well with what we do, so I think we got the perfect guy," he says. "Andrew's a great addition to the band, I think it's given us new life and it's also nice to have somebody that's from the outside coming in to the situation because you end up doing your own thing for so long, it's nice to have an outside source say, 'Uh, I don't know if that's going to work.' And that was one of the things that we needed sometimes. In the end, we're doing what pleases us, but sometimes you get into your own little world and you want to put out records that other people like too."
The result is a record that Brooks describes as their best yet.
"I like Meanderthal but there were things about it that I wasn't really happy with that could've been better. I think for this record, we were really prepared. The songs are just getting better. I think we're still growing as a band, as writers, we just keep progressing with each record and it gets better. We learn from what we've done in the past.
"This is our most inspired record, we were just really, really excited to be writing and doing it, it was kind of a rebirth and having Andrew in the band added to that. We're just really happy to be honest. We already want to start writing the next record."
Read more of Exclaim!'s newly published interview with Torche here.
5/10 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 5/11 Atlanta, GA - 529 5/12 Orlando, FL - Will's Pub 6/1 Charlotte, NC - Amos' Southend** 6/3 Nashville, TN - Exit / In** 6/5 Oklahoma City, OK - The Conservatory** 6/7 Tempe, AZ - Club 910** 6/8 Long Beach, CA - Ink N Iron Festival 6/9 San Francisco, CA - Slim's** 6/11 Seattle, WA - Studio Seven** 6/12 Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theatre** 6/13 Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theatre** 6/15 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge** 6/16 Denver, CO - The Summit Music Hall** 6/18 St. Louis, MO - Firebird** 6/19 Cincinnati, OH - Taft Theatre** 6/20 Flint, MI - The Machine Shop** 6/21 Toronto, ON - The Opera House** 6/22 Montreal, QC - Les Foufounes Electriques** 6/23 Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs** 6/24 Atlantic City, NJ - Orion Music and Arts Festival 7/6 Miami, FL - Churchill's Pub
** with Black Cobra, Gaza and Corrosion of Conformity