Overall Score: 7.5/10 Uniqueness: 8/10 Musicianship: 7/10 Atmosphericness: 8/10 Pros: Post Metal Goodness | Atmospheric Cons: Just as you really get into it, its over
Songs for Singles is the latest album by Torche, who reside on everyone’s favourite post metal / ambient record labelHydraHead (with apologies to Southern Lord, they’re great too). I must immediately say that this is one of the finest albums I have heard this year, even on a par with the recent release by their label mates Red Sparowes (and everyone knows how much of a massive Red Sparowes fan I am!).
With that said, lets have a look at things track-by-track:
Opening track UFO kicks things off in typically up tempo Torche style and while under 2 minutes long still packs a considerable punch, like a shorter, more refined version of a Mastodon song of recent times. Lay Low is too short at under a minute to really get going but leads nicely into Hideaway which resumes the up tempo nature of UFO and has some quite magnificent guitar work in the second half of the track.
Arrowhead is a darker song more reminiscent of Pelican but with vocals, and Shine On My Old Ways continues the more sinister sounding part of the album, having something of an ISIS like quality to it. Cast Into Unknown could almost be described as “post-thrash” with some ripping riffs and is the fastest paced track on the album.
Face The Wall is what I would call a “HydraHead style song” at its finest, lots of ambience, big deep heavy riffs which are stretched out, vocals with an almost echoey quality and just a little bit of feedback, four and a half minutes of post metal greatness.
Album closer Out Again returns to the uplifted approach of the albums early tracks and at over 6 minutes long is by far the longest track on the album. More sprawling guitar work is present in this largely instrumental track and brings the album full circle in a very good way.
The main problem with this album (like the recent Red Sparowes album) is that its too damn short, with only two songs clocking in at over 2.30. As a result, the album is over almost as soon as its begun. Despite the short running time, it does not stop Torche from flexing their considerable musical muscle and the album draws you in to a point where if you are listening to the album “properly” (as in not headphone music whilst at work) you very much lose track of time and when it finishes it seems almost impossible that it is so short.
Having never listened to Torche before this album, I am an instant convert and will be checking out their entire back catalogue as soon as possible. This album is a great introduction to the band and I advise anyone who likes ambient / post metal to check them out as soon as you can.
For Fans Of: Mastodon, Red Sparowes, Pelican, Baroness, Cave In, ISIS, Long Distance Calling, Katatonia