Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Torche w/Your Highness, Watertank in Paris (@Glazart, 20/05/2015)

It’s been a while since my last coverage of a stoner rock show. Though that is not to say that I’ve been slacking off, quite on the contrary, but I was starting to really miss the joys of attending a sauna of fuzzy vibrations and punchy riffs. Luckily for me, May the 20th was just around the corner ready to kick some serious ass with a show featuring none other than our beloved Miami Sludge/”Stoner pop” quartet Torche. After meeting up with guitarist Andrew and drummer Rick, I proceeded to interview these fine gentlemen before finally entering the venue with tears of laughter still running down my cheeks. One thing was for sure: tonight was off to a great start.
The first band on the bill was the Watertank from Nantes, who stepped to the stage to a relatively scattered crowd and were faced with the challenge of filling the venue up with the largest amount of pairs of open ears. Tonight’s’ entrée thus consisted of sludgy riffs delivered with a slight punk rock flavoring, the type of hefty meal starters one would come to expect for a show like this. Sound wise, the bands’ instrumental section sounded great, with a great set of slow n’ steady, ball dropping riffs mixed with some more punk-inspired sections delivered with  the same level of sonic intensity as for a full-on stoner metal live set. Unfortunately for the, their massive sound did not seem to have been fronted by figure strong to take the lead. Their vocalist unfortunately seemed to have buried by the rest of the bands’ otherwise super sound, his clean singing sounding slightly off (not to mention slightly off-key).  While I do appreciate the band’s effort to keep things lively and up the level of stage presence, the vocalist’s occasional jumps into the crowd somehow ended up being a tad bit awkward. While not necessarily my cup of tea, Watertank has an interesting sound and played a decent set of songs with only a few yet fairly noticeable weak spots.

Following up as the second course of the evening, freshly cherry-picked and served for our own listening enjoyment were Your Highness. The main ingredients for the Antwerp-based quartets’ set consisted of oversaturated riffs with strong sharing influences from old-school heavy metal and blues, raspy and sharp basslines and equally loud, roaring vocals bearing slight resemblance to that of Church of Misery’s. With a bag full of great catchy, groovy songs, remarkable stage-presence and finger lickin’ bluesy guitar leads, this bands’ set was nothing short of remarkably good! Their songs kept a stellar rockin’ groove while retaining the right amount of variation to steer away from becoming a mere groovy yet forgettable doom/stoner act.  Check these guys out, these guys may just be contenders for best opening live act for 2015 so far alongside Enos and Salem’s Pot.
Now came the time for the main course of the evening. Torche came up and hit us full throttle with their deafening blast of their catchy and instantly recognizable Sludge/Stoner Pop sound that we’ve all come to love. Seldom are the bands that manage to create such an upbeat vibe by delivering    such devastatingly heavy sound, and that is what makes Torches’ live sound such a great and fun experience. While the crowd didn’t turn into a moshpit until the second half of the set, you could certainly tell that the Miami quartet had their utmost attention and enthusiasm from the first song to the very last. Tonight’s set naturally emphasized on the bands’ latest album released earlier this year, “Restarter”, one of the bands’ heaviest albums, making for an equally heavy live set. The buzzing, electrifying rhythm guitar sections were nicely complemented and locked in with the smooth yet powerful, solid bass guitar, on top of which were featured some wailing, echoing guitars added a nice amount of depth to the sounds. The vocals were slightly low in the mix but were superbly delivered by frontman Steve Brooks, whose striking resemblance to Jack Black continues to baffle me.
After a decent handful of ass-whooping songs and a short birthday shoutout to Steve’s roommate, Torche finished off their set with a noisy, cathartic finale before closing off the festivities of the night with a wave goodbye and a satisfied look on their faces after seeing all of those smiles in the audience.
A satisfying end to a great night.


PS: I'd like to yet again send my thanks to Stoned Gatherings for making this review possible. Be sure to visit their website to find out about their upcoming shows.

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