Formed from the ashes of Mad Hatter 2.0 in November 2016, the groove-laden heavy metallers Torqued released a 3-track EP and set off on a mission of melting faces throughout 2017 with a string of festival appearances that included Mosh Against Cancer, Ashesfest, The Uprising Aftermath and Wildfire. They were also personally invited to play The New Blood Stage at Bloodstock. So not too bad then eh?
It was at Wildfire 2017 that I got to experience Torqued in a live setting and yes, they very much melted my face off. Mission accomplished it would seem. Jump ahead to present day and the band are on the verge of releasing their new 6-track EP ‘Resurgence’ on July 29th 2018 having had a slight lineup change along the way. Rimmy Sinclair (Guitars/Backing Vocals) joins Marc Cleave (Vocals/Bass Guitar) & Kurt Johnson (Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals) to replace Dave Grange. So let’s get into it.
As mentioned above, ‘Resurgence’ is a 6-track EP. Four tracks are studio recordings and the final two are live cuts. Opening up the EP is ‘Forgotten Soul’ which starts with eerie soundscapes and a primal, pulsating beat, building up a sense of fear, a sense of dread. It’s very apocalyptic, it’s menacing and it sets the tone for what follows. For me, it sounded like something out of a movie score. It ramps up the tension; it quickens your heart rate. Powerful drums, rumbling bass and crunchy guitars kick into gear to start the song off “properly” and Marc’s vocals sound punchy and clear before he goes into more of a guttural growl. Both styles fit the song and the switching up works well. It’s a heavy punch to the gut that shows the band in fine form from the off and a great way to start off proceedings.
‘Follow Me’ begins, again, with more atmospherics before Rimmys biting guitar riff cuts right through everything. The deep, guttural vocals are just menacing and the band sound so tight. What I forget sometimes with Torqued is that they are only a 3-piece band. The sound these guys produce is so huge and the addition of the synths and the atmospheric soundscapes lends itself to creating an ever more brutal and powerful record. ‘Follow Me’ is possibly the more “mainstream” of the tracks with a few hooks sprinkled throughout. How evil is that laugh at the end? Stop creeping me out, man!
Some cool drum patterns up next from Kurt on the toms start off ‘Overload, I Die Inside’ and we’re treated to what I would describe as hopeful clean guitars. Hopeful in the sense that if we were to take ‘Resurgence’ as an audio journey then this intro represents the ray of sunshine bursting through the mushroom clouds! It also offers us our first real look at a lead guitar part. It’s got a slight Eastern tinge to it, sounds very exotic. A rhythmic heavy, thick riff drives this song forward from then on and we’re back in familiar Torqued territory. The vocals feel to me to be more prominent on this track, more upfront at least, anyway. Whilst the tightness of the band remains, ‘Overload, I Die Inside’ manages to have a loose feel to it at the same time, giving the sense of space and room to breathe. For the guitar aficionados out there, this track has a tasteful, melodic, shredding solo for you to enjoy too. The song comes full circle with the same drum patterns and clean guitars as the intro which lulls you into 2 minutes of a false sense of security before the downright pure filthy riff of ‘Hollow Core’ begins. There is no messing about here. Signalling their intent from the off that they are going to grind you down with groove and burn your face off, the Gojira-esque riffing is just so aggressive. It’s making me angry! It is a relentless gunfire assault of instrumentation and then changes up with a slower tempo out of nowhere avec clean guitars and a lead guitar solo. Really love the tones used here. After some more rapid assault, a melancholy piano takes us home. It felt like death. The war is over. The end has come. A beautiful way to end the record.
Now, I say “end the record”, but of course, there are two bonus tracks for want of a better word, but treated as a 4-track then yes, it’s a beautiful way to end the record. The bonus-not-bonus live tracks are ‘Overload, I Die’ and ‘Hollow Core’ and Torqued show you that they can pull these songs off extremely well in a live setting, just as tight and complex as on record and boy, just as powerful. Anyone that has seen Torqued live can attest to the blood, sweat and tears they pour into each performance.
My overall impressions are that Torqued has lovingly and painstakingly crafted an absolute belter of an EP. It took this reviewer on a visual journey, helped in no small part by the always incredible artwork of Andy Pilkington at Very Metal Art. “‘Resurgence’ is just that. It’s about fighting on even when it feels pointless” vocalist Marc tells me. The artwork itself alludes to that fact. That when all around is burning, a flower, a ray of hope if you like, can still grow out of all the destruction. For me, the back cover art of the band signifies them walking out into the aftermath. Coming through the storm, making it to the other side. They. Are. Torqued!
There were highs. There were lows. Dynamically I thought ‘Resurgence’ was fantastic. There were elements of Gojira, Porcupine Tree and some Dream Theater in there as well for me. If you like groove, if you like sludgy, beat-you-across-the-head-with-a-hammer tempos, and if you like heavy then you simply must pick up a copy when it comes out. #BuyTheMerch
The best music doesn’t just engage your brain; it engages your heart and makes you feel. With ‘Resurgence’ I felt joy, anger, sadness, regret and all in between. The addition of the layered soundscapes helped pump the tension to critical point at times and I found myself truly engaged in a narrative that, as I said before, took me on a journey.
The passion that these guys have for their art is unrivalled and if there is any justice then ‘Resurgence’ should be a massive success for them. Life might feel pointless at times but when music this good is being made then it’s a beautiful reminder that maybe it is worth fighting for.
Website: - http://www.torqued.co.uk/
Music / Merch:- https://torqued.bandcamp.com/