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Todd La Torre - Rejoice in the Suffering Award winner

Todd La Torre
Rejoice in the Suffering
by Eric Poulin at 12 April 2021, 10:28 PM

TODD LA TORRE is a thrash/traditional metal band based out of Florida in the United States. This is his first solo full-length album entitled “Rejoice in the Suffering” released on Rat Pak Records on February 5th, 2021. For those of you who may not know about this artist, he is currently the singer for the iconic metal band QUEENSRYCHE and has been doing an amazing job in the post-Geoff Tate era. Fans of his vocal talents were quite intrigued at the idea of him pursuing the idea of a solo record and how it would sound with his musical prowess.

The album is absolutely not a musical continuation of QUEENSRYCHE, it is its own entity with a separate identity and tone, such is evident by the opening track “Dogmata” that breathes and sweat modern JUDAS PRIEST. I loved its vintage IRON MAIDEN moments, clearly evident by Todd’s incredible high-pitch delivery. There is a hint of BLAZE BAYLEY here as well, mixing both modern production and traditional metal riffs.

You have a more light-hearted hard rock side of things on “Pretender” which like many songs on this effort, channels the great ROB HALFORD and gallops its way into your ears. Todd really has a knack for producing some great headbanging material. If you enjoy a hint of power/thrash metal in your cup, then you should enjoy the rapid-fire start to “Hellbound and Down” and while the song does not always stay at that speed, it packs a punch. When I mentioned the songs have a modern touch to them, this one has a bit of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE in it, a project I have always highly appreciated in the “metalcore” genre.

But Todd is also capable of writing great mid-tempo ballads, and there is a great one on here that sounds like a mix of SAVATAGE and OZZY OSBOURNE, a stunning number entitled “Crossroad to Insanity”, dark and beautiful, allowing him to show off the different side to his amazing voice. The chorus will create goosebumps all over your body, I guarantee it. It is memorable, powerful and filled with passion. Considering one of all-time favorite bands is NEVERMORE, boy was I happy to hear their influence on “Critical Cynic”, filled with tribal drum patterns and some deep resonance in the guitars. I have always been a fan of these dark themes that talk about the negative sides of humanity. The guitar sound at one point almost matches MESHUGGAH’s trademark subterranean tone. The chorus is the most divergent part of the song, being more FATES WARNING in its style amongst the FEAR FACTORY-like atmosphere.

The song that will stick in your mind long after the album has finished is the title track “Rejoice in the Suffering” that has the emotional dimension of BRUCE DICKINSON’s solo material, matched with the heavy industrial-style rhythm guitars. If you don’t nod your head in appreciation to this song, you must be asleep. The aggressive “Vanguards of the Dawn Wall” will surely find its audience, straight to the balls and as pure a heavy metal song you will hear in 2021. Everyone just rips through this one as well as DEATH ANGEL.

Now on to the additional tracks, “Fractured” is a take on modern metal, with a strong emphasis on groove, as if PANTERA decided to write a power/thrash song in this era. I am not sure if the intent was to have nods to “Cowboys from Hell”, but I felt that vibe on this one. But the last song “One by One” on this record is the one that really blew me away, it sounds like a death metal song written by MORBID ANGEL in the first half and there are even growls on this one. Considering the rest of the album mixes the modern metal side with NWOBHM influences, I never expected a guttural number like this. It is definitely not for everyone, but If you enjoy that genre, you will be greatly impressed by this track. The second half is ore traditional but still you get the point.

This is an incredible piece of music that Todd put together, he put a spin on classic heavy metal by making it his own breed, with his own special touches. The production is crystal clear from beginning to end and every single song has great hooks and could be the next video clip. I appreciate what he brought to QUEENSRYCHE, but this is some high-level quality metal.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Dogmata
2. Pretender
3. Hellbound and Down
4. Darkened Majesty
5. Crossroad to Insanity
6. Critical Cynic
7. Rejoice in the Suffering
8. Vexed
9. Vanguards of the Dawn Wall
10. Apology
11. Fractured
12. Set it Off
13. One by One
Craig Blackwell - Guitars, Bass
Todd La Torre - Vocals, Drums, Guitars
Record Label: Rat Pak Records


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Edited 31 May 2023

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