Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Torche Mean Business at The Middle East

I feel like solid metal shows are getting fewer and fewer in Boston these days. That’s why I jumped on the opportunity to see Helms Alee, Big Business, and Torche when they came to the Middle East in Cambridge, MA on July 21, 2010. All three bands are all signed to Hydra Head, a label that has a never-ending streak of releasing the most creative records in heavy music. I have written about Torche on this website numerous times and they never disappoint. Helms Alee and Big Business both have new releases that have more than exceeded my expectations. Together, these bands put on a memorable show of earsplitting goodness.

The first band to play was Helms Alee. The trio comprised of guitarist Ben Verellen, bassist Dana James, and drummer Hozoji Margullis play a variation of metal that is impossible to predict. All three members contribute vocals and it makes for a unique experience. The music has more crazy twists and turns than the movie Mulholland Drive. They played deafeningly loud which is propelled by the fact that Margullis is one of the most explosive drummers I have ever seen. Highlights included the mesmerizing “8/16” from their new album, Weatherhead. The band just raised the money to film a video for ”8/16” which can be heard here so keep an eye out for that. It will definitely appear on here after it debuts.

When Big Business bassist/vocalist Jared Warren came on stage and struck his bass, my first thought was “Holy shit that is one thick, heavy bass sound!” The thunderous rumble didn’t stop throughout the set. I was wondering if Warren could retain the timbre and vigor he has on recordings and I was not let down. The man has one tremendous voice. Songs like “The Drift” and “Grounds for Divorce” were fans favorites and performed to perfection with all the roaring undercurrents of their studio counterparts. The guitarist was very entertaining to watch and was giving Steve Brooks of Torche a run for his money as the reigning champion of smiling in metal. He didn’t lose his devious grin while laying down riff after riff even through a few mistakes I caught. The band played a satisfying mix of tracks from all three of their albums as well as new songs from their Quadruple Single EP. The new songs were very dynamic and memorable especially the epic closer, "Guns", which had repeated chants of “Gun are better than anything else!” You can listen to Quadruple Single here and I highly recommend that you do because all four tracks are absolutely killer!

Torche came blazing onto stage ripping through the faster tracks from Meanderthal and Songs for Singles. Steve Brooks had his usual smirk on while he shredded songs to bits and moved all around the stage. The production was great and brought out the force of their catchy power metal anthems like “Across the Shields”. The high point for me was when they played “Fat Waves” into “Out Again” which are my two favorite songs and the best examples of their ability to write hypnotic stoner metal jams. After those tunes, they moved into heavier territory playing floor rumbling songs from earlier in their catalog. They covered a good range of material and exemplified that they can hone any end of the metal spectrum. Below is a video from the show of Torche courtesy of The Boston Phoenix. You get a good idea of how devastatingly loud it was from the distortion.

After Torche’s set, I was making my way out and watched the guitarist from Big Business blow a 0.34 on breathalyzer test machine in the back of the venue. Apparently, he should have been dead. At that moment, those goofy faces and flubs made a lot more sense. It was like watching a real-life version of something that would happen on Metalocalypse. It was totally metal.

Torche @ the Middle East Downstairs 7/21/2011 from Ali Donohue on Vimeo.

No comments:

Post a Comment