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On their sophomore effort, Torche successfully combines the massive musical heft reserved for the band's sludge-loving crowd with shockingly minimal song lengths for a jarring yet ultimately uplifting listening experience. Imagine Weezer jamming out with Queens of the Stone Age for an example of the beauty this incongruous formula on paper yields on tracks like the Beach Boys gone Melvins feel radiated by "Healer" or the robotic punk rock crunch of "Piranha". Starting out by crafting tasty hook-laden rock tunes bursting with melody, then drowning them in metallic guitar molten lava to achieve the lumbering effects these former members of underground darling acts Cavity and Floor never left behind before snipping the fat to yield bite-sized stoner rock delights such as the fun and fuzzy "Grenades" or the irresistibly bouncy "Across the Shields", Torche has struck gold by manipulating their intrinsic levels of musical perception to flip without sacrificing an ounce of heaviness. In turn, this adventurous bunch's bare bones approach at incredible volume makes MEANDERTHAL an addictive and epic release whose prime hunks of sensory-filling, moon-crater forming heavy rock are laden with as many pop hooks and crushing riffs.
- Mike SOS