Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2015 So Far

26. Torche

Torche's sludge-laden stoner metal is certainly full of weight and fuzz, but the tone and texture that they wield consistently sets them apart from their peers. Where so much sludge goes for gloom, they aim for sweet, hot sunshine; while the guitar tone is still full of tar, it evokes the sticky heat of city asphalt rather than bubbling pitch. Their 2012 album Harmonicraft was a union of profound heaviness with a delicious, sickly sweet pop sensibility and truly unfuckwithable hooks and melodies, as catchy as a wad of gum in your hair.

Restarter, however, ups the ante considerably in terms of depth and heaviness, and the result is something blisteringly infectious but also deliciously doom-laden. "Bishop in Arms" is an exercise in demolition, showcasing positively crushing drums and allowing Steve Brooks the opportunity to really push his vocal performance, while faster and more upbeat bombers like "Blasted" and "Loose Men" prove that they haven't set their pop-inflected tendencies aside, but rather have married it all the more closely with a deep and threatening aggression. Restarter is a record you can't let your guard down around.
Natalie Zina Walschots