After checking out and enjoying their recent singles, it was hard not to feel real intrigue for the debut album from British metallers Torous. Those previous songs were a potent introduction for us to the band’s fusion of Celtic/progressive rock with additional and varied alternative bred metal and a potential which alone warrants close and continued attention. Mindfield only confirms and cements their promise while equally pushing and expanding the imagination and adventure found in those songs; showing just why the Birmingham trio is beginning to create a stir.
Since emerging in 2014, Torous has toured the UK numerous times with increasing success and shared stages with the likes of Rival State, Evil Scarecrow, and Diamond Head as well as played major festivals like Hammerfest alongside bands such as with Napalm Death, Alestorm, and Grand Magus. Their first EP, Dried Bones, lured critical and fan praise subsequently matched by that around the Holier Than Thou released singles Colours and I Am. Out via the same label, Mindfield is sure to take things to another level in acclaim and attention as it does the inventive qualities heard in those previous tracks.
The piped seduction of Sideline brings the album to ears, its brief instrumental caress courted by darker shadows before Frontline erupts from its alluring charms. Instantly riffs and rhythms crowd the senses but with a certain restraint as the distinct vocals of guitarist Marc Malone join the potent mix. With the bass of GMT a steely enticement alongside the senses clipping beats of Tom Fenn, the track prowls as it courts ears and imagination with open enterprise and a rich blend of classic and modern metal hued rock ‘n’ roll with the extra colour of some fine folk inspired melodic endeavour.
Those previously mentioned singles come next, I Am first gripping ears with its slightly predatory and increasingly addictive bait of metal infused drama and rebel-rousing spirit. Stabbing riffs are matched in trespass by the spiky rumble of beats, the bass offering even darker bait as Malone’s vocals holler with melodic suggestion and grace waiting for the moment to strike and turn things on their head. It is a song just as potent and thrilling as first time heard a crowd of listens ago, Colours similarly blossoming again with time as its shamanic air and Celtic lilt swiftly captivates the imagination. The track entices like something akin to the blending of Manegarm and Southern Death Cult, a suggestion may be even more apt for subsequent tracks like Close My Eye, though before it the engaging croon and growing roar of Playing Human has an already happy appetite for the album blissful with its energetically crawling gait and boisterous invention bolstered further by great Skids spiced hooks.
Becoming increasingly feisty, the excellent track is matched in success by Close My Eye, the song a perpetually twisting and compelling escapade, and in turn by the progressive growl of Seven which instrumentally has the imagination flirting with its own evolving landscape to match the mercurial but still relatively stable climate of the suggestively crafted piece.
Shipped Away canters in like a warrior on horseback, rhythms swinging and vocals inciting as the bass nags with its shadowy devilry. Offering arguably the most infectious chorus upon the album, even in its brief state though it emerges through a host of equally catchy stages, the song is a venture through unpredictable moments which do not always work as well as in other time but only fascinates with ears firmly hooked before Nine holds the next moment of keen attention with its folkish hues across imposing textures.
Across its fourteen tracks there is may be surprisingly no weak moments though of course some tracks spark greater reactions than others. As the trio of Shadow Self with its tribal lining to capriciously emotional and physical terrain, the more openly predacious Crow Road, and the melodic web of Feed the Fire show, there might be a varying degree of pleasure found in songs but all ensure varying shades of rich satisfaction flirts with the borders of rapture.
On top of that Mindfield just gets better with every listen, almost intoxicating ears and thoughts as new things are unveiled and propositions like its title track, a beguiling almost demonically alluring persuasion, share adventures which never end with the same character they start with or keep to a path expectations can get a handle on.
Closing track God Game Suicide sums up all the attributes of the Torous sound and album; its Celtic rock adventure aligned to rapacious melodic metal a creative and rousing emprise to find kinship with. Certainly Mindfield is not without imperfections and at times a familiarity to others yet those traits somehow carry their own individuality as the album consistently catches the imagination full on and sees pleasure bubbling with perpetual rigour.
Mindfield is out through Holier Than Thou now; digitally on iTunes and other stores and physically @ http://torous.bigcartel.com/product/mindfield-cd
Pete RingMaster 25/05/2017
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright