Tuesday, January 18, 2011


After 2 years of looking for the right guitar player, we've finally found him. We'd like to welcome Andrew Elstner of St. Louis to the Torche quartet!! We're very excited to have him in the band and have already started writing a ton of new material with him this month. Check out the River Front Times' article about him joining the band:

Tilts vocalist/guitarist Andrew Elstner is joining the well-regarded stoner-metal band Torche. The latter group, which has members in Atlanta, Gainesville and Miami, has known Elstner since he was the vocalist/guitarist for Riddle of Steel. When that band ended a few years ago, it coincided with Torche splitting with guitarist Juan Montoya.

"[Torche] singer/guitarrer Steve Brooks found out I was a free agent, and we've been in touch ever since," Elstner says. "He's also a big fan of Tilts too, so we'd been trying to coordinate a jam/hang session for a long time and scheduling has been tough."

That session finally happened this week in Gainesville, Florida -- and by all accounts, it went well.

"It's been sleep, eat, jam since I got here," Elstner says. "Surreal and awesome."

He adds, "I've been looking forward to this for a long time as I'm a huge fan. But I can be shy in a new situation so it wasn't like 'instant awesome.' We'd all hung out a coupla times before, but there needed to be a couple warm-up days before everyone felt 100% comfy I think."

In Torche, Elstner will be playing guitar and contributing back-up vocals -- "and possibly a lead vocal or two," he says. He'll also be moving to Atlanta in March.

"St. Louis, my friends, my family, my bandmates in Tilts -- everyone has been super supportive and crazy excited as I am," Elstner says. "It's been humbling and awesome. No matter how it all ends, I'm having a good time now, spoiled with the musicians in Tilts and Torche alike. I'm very, very lucky."
- Annie Zaleski / River Front Times

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Hey everyone. Rick here. Wanted to check in and let everyone know what's goin on over here. We just spent this entire week writing new material for our upcoming full length. So far we have 10 songs!!! We've also been writing the new material with a second guitar player... more news on that soon. By next month we should have our entire record written and we will begin pre-production demos. I'm really digging the new stuff... I feel like it's a little bit of all our sounds covering everything from the first record to the last one! Lots of heavy shit!!! =)

Anyone who's interested in picking up our merchandise in Europe, Day After Prints has our leftover limited edition European tour merch available for mailorder. Check out their webpage for more info... they also sell a ton of merch from great bands like Boris, Sunn0)), Master Musicians Of Bukkake, Burning Witch and many more...

No shows are currently booked for Torche in 2011, but that will change very soon... summer dates will be announced in the next month or so. In the meantime you can go catch Steve playing live with FLOOR at the Scion Metal Fest in Pomona on March 5th. Also playing at the festival are Morbid Angel, Obituary, Death Angel, Crom, and more. We'll be a lot better about updating this thing now that we all have computers!!! Woo hoo!!! Talk to y'all soon and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!




CD/LP (2010 - USA) Hydra Head

1. UFO (1:53)
2. Lay Low (0:51)
3. Hideaway (2:03)
4. Arrowhead (2:17)
5. Shine On My Old Ways (1:49)
6. Cast Into Unknown (2:11)
7. Face The Wall (4:32)
8. Out Again (6:11)

Steve Brooks - guitars/vocals
Rick Smith - drums
Jon Nuñez - bass

Recorded in 2009 by Jon Nuñez at The Dungeon in Miami, FL. Mixed by Jon Nuñez. Mastered by Nick Zampielo. Artwork concept by Rick Smith. Layout by Andrew Cox.



What does one call eight songs in 25 minutes? An EP? A mini-LP? Just don't call it a placeholder -- there are too many bulldozer riffs here, even in the under-a-minute sketches. Either way, 15 years ago, this Miami-Atlanta trio's high-octane sludge pop would've been called indie rock, a subgenre now so constricted that this booming thunder gets lumped in with metal. "Face the Wall" can't help but sound anthemic despite its mood of resignation, but most of these tunes are explosive, including the closer "Out Again," which goes for extended krautrock hypnosis. Even there, not a second is wasted.
- Joe Gross / SPIN Magazine


For anyone familiar with the fiercely leftfield Hydra Head roster, it should come as no surprise that wily Floridians Torche aren’t exactly keen on playing by the rules. Case in point: choosing to follow 08’s monumental and much-lauded ‘Meanderthal’ with ‘Songs For Singles’, a brief, impetuous mini-album which brews up a veritable Creole gumbo of variations in focus, mood and feel over a mere eight tracks. That none of these tracks have actually been released as a single is neither here nor there, but the obtuse juxtaposition of mostly unrelated songs does make for a somewhat disconnected album, especially as the majority judder to a halt in an unexpectedly abrupt manner. Quality-wise, however, nothing here gets less than two thumbs up; from the full-tilt battery of ‘Cast Into Unknown’, to the hypnotically epic ‘Out Again’, the triumphantly anthemic ‘U.F.O’ or the woozy drawl of ‘Face The Wall’, most bands operating in the post-metal landscape would pawn their firstborn for a chance to produce anything this powerful and dripping in soul. Most importantly, ‘Songs For Singles’ is unmistakably a Torche record; primal, punishing, yet irresistibly sweet. It may make a mockery of the traditional album format, but then again, would you expect anything less?
- Pete Withers / ROCK SOUND


While I appreciate that this is a rock review you’re reading, I must tell you that Torche rock like few other rockers do. Their rock, mighty though it certainly is, isn’t rock to run from if your MP3 player preferences are outfits of a rather more sedate nature. See, this is rock that rolls with effortless immediacy, rock that conservative listeners could even consider "proper songs", in a designed-for-daytime-radio sense. It’s heavy, it’s loud, it’s triumphant; but it’s also full of the kind of instant-hit melodies the Cowell-created hordes, or rather their writing teams, would gladly garrote fluffy bunnies for.
The Florida trio – a four-piece until ex-Floor man Juan Montoya picked up his ball and left in late 2008, citing that old favourite: creative differences – have seen their music categorised as "thunder pop" in previous critiques. Honestly, it’s a perfect fit for songs that are equally accessible as they are not-so-sporadically sonically akin to an arsenal going up right beside your left lughole. Songs for Singles is a compact, concise introduction to the band. It’s not quite an album – they’ve two under their belts, both superb: 2005’s eponymous debut, released in the UK through Mogwai’s Rock Action label, and 2008’s Meanderthal, which emerged via Hydra Head, a stable co-founded by Aaron Turner, previously of mighty post-metal outfit Isis – but it offers more than a standard between-LPs EP. If it’s your toe in the door, or pool if you prefer, you’ve picked a fine set to begin your love affair with.
With six of these eight cuts clocking in at around two minutes or less, Songs for Singles doesn’t hang about in making its point: that rock, this rock, can be mightily addictive, and that the habit can develop as early as an initial listen. U.F.O., Lay Low and Hideaway have been and gone in the time it takes most albums to warm up; and unlike many a record’s tentative first steps, these efforts are sensory blitzes that beguile with instantaneous effect. The formula might not be a mind-bender – pop songs played through massive amps (seriously, trim the decibels on some of these and you’ve got McFly’s future hit singles), fast but without unnecessary aggression – but the execution is as perfect as you’ll hear. When proceedings do slow, as on the thick drone-haze of Face the Wall, it’s less to provide the listener with a breather, more to allow them to reflect just how faultlessly well formed the preceding vignettes of vital contemporary rock were.
Rock like rock shouldn’t be: a rock that your parents wouldn’t just love, given a chance, but one that they’d ask you to play again, louder. It ain’t right, obviously. But it rocks brilliantly.
- Mike Diver / BBC MUSIC


There should be more bands like Torche. The Miami trio sits near the top of the underground-metal heap, but they're also the rare underground-metal band happy to come off as regular dudes rather than medieval warriors or swamp monsters. They churn out fuzz-rock bangers with mechanistic precision, never betraying any signs of pretension or mystique. Since the departure of guitarist Juan Montoya, they're an entirely short-haired band, and frontman Steve Brooks sings in a beer-belly bellow, not an elemental rasp. The band take as many cues from ragged 1990s indie as they do from bongwater-dripping 70s crunch-rock, and you can hear echos of Guided By Voices and Superchunk reverberating around in there. They never sacrifice melody for volume, or vice versa-- and somehow, that quality makes them exceptional.
Two years ago, the band came out hard with Meanderthal, which the metal magDecibel called their album of the year while admitting that it sometimes sounds like the Foo Fighters. On Songs for Singles, their new eight-song EP, there's nothing that leaves as deep an impression as some of the best Meanderthal moments. Instead there's an intense focus on brevity, as the first six songs stick as tightly as possible to a very basic formula, sort of like the Ramones did. These songs never get far beyond the two-minute mark. The band plays with heads down, never taking time for solos or anything that registers as a chorus. If you're not paying much attention, the tracks bleed into one another and feel like one long rush of effects-pedal rumble and chunky riffage.
Nothing during these first few songs is all that memorable, but it's always impressive that they're able to work up such furious grooves in such confined spaces, hardly even altering the tempos. This is fun, assured heavy rock, and it gets the job done. But the last two tracks-- the ones where Torche give themselves room to stretch out-- are where Songs for Singles really takes off. "Face the Wall" and "Out Again" are still very much wheelhouse songs for this band, but they slow down their attack noticeably, letting space and dynamics creep into the guitar-storm. "Out Again" is six minutes of relentless pounding, and the band spends its back half abandoning the song-form stuff completely and just vamping hard. It sounds awesome.
With that title, Songs for Singles practically announces itself as a stopgap release, a breather after the breakthrough. If it doesn't shake the earth the way Meanderthaldid, it's not really supposed to. But the EP does show that this band remains in fine working condition, and another full-on album from these guys would be a welcome thing indeed. Until then, this will do just fine.


Just like Quicksand was to hardcore in the 90's, Torche has become heavy metal's new spank bank. Bands like these give hard-asses an excuse to like a melodic pop band while still maintaining bröötal status. I mean, c'mon, was Meanderthal really that good? What if you stripped away all of Meanderthal's stoned out qualities that created gaps between the saccharine tunes that made up the majority of the disc?

Well, then you'd get Songs for Singles, an 8-song EP of spaced-out vocals and low strung guitars that showcases the sing-song side of Torche. This EP mostly makes the head bob left to right instead of front to back, so you look more Night at the Roxbury than Burn My Eyes. In fact, Songs for Singles brings to mind a lot of mid-to-late 90's references like Betty-style Helmet mixed with parts of Hum, Quicksand, Shift and other post-hardcore unmetal outfits.

The constant kick drums of "UFO" open the record with an upbeat pace. Nimble sticky-sweet guitar licks shape "Hideaway," while "Face Against the Wall" slows things down to a wallflower ballad. "Shine on My Old Ways" experiments with feedback and snare techniques. "Arrowhead" is the only foray into the truly stoner territory, but the offbeat rhythm and rapid drum fills makes it more entertaining than your standard slag of a piece. The best track "Cast into the Unknown" is the only song that feels fully realized. It has the fun riff, the hooky vocal melody and fast, but still pop, tempo.

It is easy to get lost in the swirling atmosphere of down-tuned distortion and heavily reverbed vocal harmonies, but thankfully, Songs for Singles doesn't overstay its welcome. Most of the songs are around two minutes long, except for the last drawn out and bouncy jam, "Out Again." The album doesn't leave you wanting more, but rather hits the spot just right.

Bottom Line: Most of these tunes have elements of what made Meanderthal a critical darling, but Songs for Singles still feels like a quickly-made EP and more of a continuation of what they began on Meanderthal, never getting fleshed out enough to set it apart from its predecessor.

- Joshua D / LAMBGOAT


We know what you're thinking: "Another EP?" Yes, but while the latest from Floridian rock-influenced sludge metal trio Torche is their third in as many years, make no mistake about the wealth and value of the material on Songs For Singles. Initially they intended the tracks for the long-anticipated follow-up to 2008'sMeanderthal, but after growing weary of toiling, the band issued the tunes they felt were complete. At that, they were more than right ― these eight pieces are the most accessibly refined, yet irresistible, tracks Torche have crafted to date. Opening with the atmospheric, catchy, yet eerie, "U.F.O.," before sliding through more haunting pieces such as the mystical "Shine on My Old Ways," drivingly hook-laden "Cast Into Unknown" and grandiose "Out Again," Songs For Singles may be just over 20 minutes, but an awe-inspiring experience is packed into that fleeting length. Moreover, it provokes one to wonder: if this is so great, just how phenomenal are the numbers that aren't yet finished?

- Keith Carman / Exclaim Magazine



CD (2009 ; Japan) - Daymare
10" (2010 ; USA) - Hydra Head

1. Luna (BORIS)
2. King Beef (TORCHE)

Steve Brooks - guitar/vocals
Rick Smith - drums
Jon Nuñez - bass

Recorded and mixed by Jon Nuñez at The Dungeon in Miami, FL. Artwork on the Japanese CD by Atsuo (Fangsanalsatan). Artwork on the USA 10" by Aaron Turner.


10" (2010 ; USA) - Amnesian
Cassette (2009 ; USA) - RCP Tapes

1. Triumph Of Venus
2. Grenades
3. Piraña
4. Sandstorm
5. Speed Of The Nail
6. Healer
7. Across The Shields

Steve Brooks - guitar/vocals
Juan Montoya - guitar
Rick Smith - drums
Jonathan Nuñez - bass

Recorded, mixed and mastered in 2007 by Jon Nuñez at 305 Studios. Originally released as a cassette tape on Rick's label. Art and layout by Rick.


12"+DVD - (2009 ; USA) - Hydra Head

1. Healer
2. Across The Shields
3. Mash It Up
4. Sugarglider

1. Healer music video
2. Across The Shields music video

Steve Brooks - guitar/vocals
Juan Montoya - guitar
Rick Smith - drums
Jonathan Nuñez - bass

Tracks on SIDE A were also released on "Meanderthal" in 2008. Side B tracks were recorded in 2008 at 305 Studios by Jon Nuñez. Mixed by Jonathan Nuñez and Torche. Mastered by Nick Zampielo. Artwork by Aaron Turner.


CD - (2008 ; USA) - Hydra Head
LP - (2008 ; USA) - Robotic Empire
CD (2008 ; Japan) - Daymare

1. Triumph Of Venus (1:44)
2. Grenades (2:53)
3. Piraña (1:32)
4. Sandstorm (2:19)
5. Speed Of The Nail (1:41)
6. Healer (2:07)
7. Across The Shields (3:03)
8. Sundown (3:17)
9. Little Champion (0:34)
10. Without A Sound (2:06)
11. Fat Waves (4:32)
12. Amnesian (6:25)
13. Meanderthal (3:59)

Steve Brooks - guitar/vocals
Juan Montoya - guitar
Rick Smith - drums
Jonathan Nuñez - bass

Recorded in 2007 at Godcity in Salem, MA by Kurt Ballou. Additional guitars on 'Sundown' by Kurt Ballou. Additional drums on 'Fat Waves' and 'Meanderthal' by Chris Maggio. Mixed by Kurt Ballou and Torche. Mastered by Nick Zampielo. Artwork by Juan Montoya and Aaron Turner.

The 'In Return' EP was included as bonus tracks on the Japanese CD.



Maybe it's the bunker-thick wall of sludge, maybe it's the doomy undertow, or maybe it's the hair-farming guitar whiz and gay frontman (peace to Judas Priest), but Torche aren't really a metal band, certainly not the pleasureless Ozzfest kind, not with riffs this gloriously anthemic. "Meanderthal" is guitar pop for those who wish Foo Fighters had a pre-sellout period. The superchunky "Grenades," "Healer," and "Across the Shields" thrash out hefty hooks so flawless that Josh Homme just woke up in a cold sweat.
- Joe Gross / SPIN Magazine


After establishing themselves as fine purveyors of metallic sludge over the course of an album and an EP, Torche's second full-length, Meanderthal, refines their penchant for volume and proves that there's more in their bag of tricks than Melvins-like metal. The record kicks off at a breakneck pace with a half-dozen tar-thick tracks. The fleet-fingered math of "Triumph of Venus" gives way to the triumphant bombast of "Grenades", a track that's barely finished before "Pirhaña"'s stop/start stomp kicks into gear. Through these six songs-- including "Sandstorm", "Speed of the Nail", and "Healer"-- nothing necessarily feels out of the ordinary when compared to what Torchehave done in the past.

The hard left turn -- and perhaps the breaking point with "true" metal dudes-- comes with "Across the Shields", a tune that could find a nice home on modern rock radio. Musically, the group finds a comfortable middle ground between their speed trials and more turgid pace, allowing Steve Brooks' militant holler-- usually more reminiscent ofHelmet's Page Hamilton -- to take on a melodic bent that could bring to mind anyone from Dave Grohl to Jawbox's J. Robbins. There's even an honest-to-goodness hook: "I am your armor," Brooks sings as the guitars descend. The moment stands out due to producer (and Converge guitarist) Kurt Ballou; the crisp sheen he lends to Torche'ssound makes everything stand out and shimmer.

Torche follow that breakthrough with a second half that contains a quick and clean 30-second instrumental ("Little Champion"), more catchy hit-and-run slabs ("Sundown", "Without a Sound"), and a thunderous one-two punch ("Amnesian", "Meanderthal") to finish an album that shows Torche spreading their wings and exploring new territory while still creating their heaviest music yet. It's a fitting send-off to an absolutely killer rock record -- one that's likely to appeal to listeners into any stripe of heavy music from the past 20 years.
- David Raposa / PITCHFORK MEDIA


It's almost as if Torche wrote a record in response to Hydra Head Records' habit of releasing discs of doomy, unlistenable forty-minute songs. The band that once penned sludgy, stodgy songs have produced an effort inarguably their most accessible to date: Meanderthal, an album that's anything but its title as it's a strong collection of XM-friendly stoner-pop/straight-up rock jams that tempers their elder sound and strikes territory closer to alternative radio acts like Queens of the Stone Age and even the Foo Fighters.

Whether it's through the layered declarations of the stomping, mid-tempo "Grenades" or faster romps like "Piraña," "Fat Waves" and "Healer," guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks can often be found singing or shouting in an easily digested delivery that's less harsh and ugly than last year's In Return EP, 2005's self-titled or, especially, his days in the noisier and more off-kilter Floor.

The contrast the band presents is an interesting one, though. With songs like "Speed of the Nail," distorted guitars and bass can rumble and roll, creating an austerity that isn't always present; but then there's the incredibly happy and melodic in the seriously exceptional "Across the Shields," where Brooks could fill an arena with his proclamation, "I am your armor!" "Healer" and "Fat Waves" both find particularly smooth middle grounds, with a hard-charging riff driving each respective song and an excellently energetic pacing in both.

One of the especially confounding tracks is the brooding "Sundown" because, swear to fucking God, aside from the chorus it sounds like Jawbreaker circa Bivouac or 24 Hour Revenge Therapy; Brooks' nasally, distorted delivery on the verses could even pass for Schwarzenbach's. Upon further analysis, though, it makes sense: Brooks is highly influenced by punk rock, and not only sonically; the average song length here is under three minutes.

High-gloss production would probably really take this record over the top, but thankfully, Kurt Ballou applies his signature grit, which keeps the record steady and slightly muffled amid all the bold melodies. And frankly, the last two tracks, "Amnesian" and "Meanderthal," make sure things aren't all SquiZZ; the former is a six-minute thunderstorm and the latter a four-minute instrumental mammoth, both of which harken back to the band's earlier days.

Meanderthal is a different kind of mammoth than one's used to hearing from Torche, but when they seem to do it better than the bands they'll now assuredly be lumped with, they're certainly deserving of immunity.
- David R / punknews.org


TORCHE have always been regarded for their crushing, heavy sound. However, with the appropriately named Meanderthal, we find TORCHE offering up a unique slate of songs that meander from outstanding pop to the neanderthalic and monolithic heaviness that we have come to expect from them.

Meanderthal sees TORCHE really moving in a direction of their own and leaving behind the memory of frontman Steve Brooks’ former band FLOOR. On their self-titled debut, the majority of tracks were weed-soaked jams laced with feedback and reverb, with the occasional uptempo track like “Fire” shining through. That song, along with tracks like “In Return” and “Rule The Beast” from the In Return EP, foreshadowed the best aspects of Meanderthal - the upbeat songs with an underlying sense of gravity and vocals reminiscent of Dave Grohl. I have always believed that songs wereTORCHE’s strongest suit, and on Meanderthal, songs such as “Healer”, and “Pirana” prove that very notion. One of Meanderthal’s best is the song “Fat Waves”, a track which starts off as an uptempo jam loaded with hooks and, then on a dime, you are face to face with an angry Orange amp and a delay pedal.

TORCHE have solidly planted their flag in the realm of heavy music with Meanderthal,but this album seeks to achieve something greater. With its impeccable Kurt Ballouproduction, it truly does have something for everyone – from pop gems for the FALL OUT BOY-listening set to intimidating, one note bass bombs (see: album title track) for those who may have been fans of the late YOB. With this sharp and superbly-written album, TORCHE are poised to become a household name, and are easily in the running for best of 2008.
- Alex Harisiadis / Pastepunk


CD+10" - (2007 ; USA) - Robotic Empire
CD (2007 ; Europe) - Rock Action

1. Warship (2:11)
2. In Return (2:33)
3. Bring Me Home (2:47)
4. Rule The Beast (2:42)
5. Olympus Mons (2:08)
6. Tarpit Carnivore (3:32)
7. Hellion (3:38)

Steve Brooks - guitar/vocals
Juan Montoya - guitar
Rick Smith - drums
Jonathan Nuñez - bass

Recorded in 2005 at Miami Dade and La Casa Nuñez in Miami, FL by Jon Nuñez. Mixed by Jonathan Nuñez and Torch. Mastered at West West Side. Artwork by Jon Baizley.


CD/LP - (2005 ; USA) - Robotic Empire
CD (2006 ; Europe) - Rock Action
Cassette (2007 ; USA) - RCP Tapes

1. Charge Of The Brown Recluse (2:59)
2. Safe (1:17)
3. Mentor (2:13)
4. Erase (2:15)
5. Fuck Addict (3:35)
6. Vampyro (1:48)
7. Rock It (1:07)
8. Fire (2:23)
9. Holy Roar (2:05)
10. The Last Word (9:24)
11. Make Me Alive (2:31)*
* was included as a bonus track on the remastered re-issue.

Steve Brooks - guitar/vocals
Juan Montoya - guitar
Rick Smith - drums
Jonathan Nuñez - bass

Recorded in 2004 at Atomic Audio in Tampa, FL by Mark Nicholich.
Additional tracking at Casa de Nuñez by Jonathan Nuñez in Miami, FL.
Mixed by Jonathan Nuñez and Torche. Mastered at West West Side.
Artwork and layout by Rick Smith. Additional layout work by Andy Low.