The press release accompanying Against The Tide, suggested that creators Torchbearer “are ready to set the world alight their new EP.” Whether that proves the case time will tell but certainly the five track encounter is one ear gripping, appetite rousing protagonist which demands attention.
With ex-members of Blowgoat and Collapse in their ranks, the South Wales quartet unleash a hardcore/punk sound unafraid to embrace other similarly fierce and intrusive flavours yet as their new release proves, it is a fury equipped with the keenest of hooks and fuelled by ravening melodic fire. An early EP, Pass In the Night, hinted at the potential of the band, one partly realised and fully pushed to greater heights by its rousing successor.
The swiftly magnetic and seriously compelling Time Served opens up Against The Tide, sweeping guitars and robustly animated rhythms instantly descending on the senses to lay potent bait. There is no time to reflect though as within a couple of seconds the band is a raging torrent of vocal ferocity and sonic trespass within which a glorious hook teases and taunts. Andy Mansell’s vocal attack is throat raw and heart driven, the sound around matching his intensity even when pulling back to the moment when it is his ire and the prowling menace of bass uncaged by Mohannad Mamoun Abdul-Rahaman Bashir Ahmed Meckey Ghuleb predominantly alone. Courted by the psyche rapping beats of Scott Harris, that moment sparks another rousing moment as the great clean vocal tones of guitarist Ollie Gould with those of Ghuleb alongside fill the magnetic air which in turn leads to a web of metal nurtured temptation before inherent animosity unites in their thrilling endeavour.
The track is superb, a definite favourite moment within the EP but more than matched by Paralysed and its equally creative examination. A touch less venomous and intrusive but just as inventive in melodic, harmonic, and toxic adventure with Mansell again a gripping fury, the song seized ears and appetite with ease and only tightened its hold by the eventful second.
Ascender provides a calm coaxing through its body and heart, Gould’s ever magnetic chords and hooks luring ears to a waiting nest of viperish grooves and devious hooks within a reflective wrath. As its predecessor, the song is a resourceful proposition, its lures unpredictable and inviting as its breath sears and provokes; qualities just as rich within the following Drown where its caustic air and touch is intensive and animated tapestry of flavours and invention ensnaring; Torchbearer bringing another fresh and darker shade to their sound.
It is a darkness though fearsomely intensified within the EP’s closing track, also called Torchbearer. Its gentle melodic opening has an edge in sound and voice, a fateful tone quickly exposed by Mansell and the rapacious sounds around him. The song’s fractious instincts soak its riffs and temptation but each a strong lure within the increasingly intensive and toxic mood of the track. So unique and opposite to the EP’s opener and just as riveting it gives a fine end to a release which just thrilled and impressed with greater strength by the listen.
Whether Against The Tide will indeed set ablaze the music scene we will find out but it certainly gives it a mighty nudge as to the presence of the rousing force that is Torchbearer.
Against The Tide is out now as a name your price download @ https://torchbearerlondon.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 02/08/2019
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