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Torch – Reignited

by kenn staub at 07 October 2020, 5:54 PM

TORCH formed in 1981 and had a six year run before disbanding in 1986. They reformed in 2013, a well-received reunion that sparked the eventual writing and recording of new material. The end result was the release of “Reignited” on September 25, TORCH’s first new music in 35 years. And after listening to this album it’s my pleasure to report that the metal torch this Swedish five-piece carries still burns bright.

Reignited” harkens back, in the best ways possible, to the glory days of traditional metal and some of the heaviest bands of that era; PRIEST, SAXON, ACCEPT, and W.A.S.P. Headbangers all, the tunes on “Reignited” are propelled by Streaker (drums) and Gregg (bass), with guitarists First and Hakky contributing coordinated six string work to form a tight rhythm. Dark’s vocals have aged well, as he variously harmonizes with and sings over top the melody work on each track.

The PRIEST-like “Knuckle Duster” kicks off the album, a steady, relentless, uptempo track centered upon a rhythmic theme. I was especially taken with the guitar break between chorus and verse, as well as the two different soloing styles, one notey and the other more rhythm-based. The segue into the song outro got a bit messy compared to the rest of the track, but all came out fine in the end. TORCH’s strong start slows a bit with “Collateral Damage.” It’s not a bad tune, but wasn’t necessarily to my taste; perhaps because of a mid-song tempo shift and a chorus that seemed a bit at odds with the rest of the song.

Dark’s vocals come to the fore in “All Metal, No Rust,” a declaration that even those who have grown older can still shake down the metal thunder. Amen to that brother!! Anthemic, the track features a methodical beat, a sing along chorus, and some lines that will make for a nice call-and-response interlude when played live. “Feed The Flame” begins with distorted guitar work and takes off when the Streaker and Gregg join in. Almost a lyrical ode to QUIET RIOT’s “Bang Your Head (Metal Health),” this history of metal and has one of the catchiest choruses on the album. The guitar solo is a bit different from that played on the previous three tracks, having a more “classic metal” feel.

In The Dead Of The Night” makes for a stylistic change of pace. The track is a bit different, not the least because of its spare, moody intro and outro. Played at a slower tempo with a solid beat all the way through, Dark soulfully sings the lyrics and the group’s harmony on the choruses is pitch perfect. At the three-minute mark the song takes on a sinister tone for a spell, with Dark’s vocals becoming a bit anguished, before returning to the original theme.

TORCH demonstrates a lighter tonality on “Cradle To Grave,” the sound stripped of the gravitas of the preceding tracks. The guitar solo is given more time to develop, though it remains far from extravagant despite the greater leeway. I liked the second half of “Snake Charmer” more than the first, as it seems the band settles into a more cohesive groove which again brings PRIEST to mind. The chorus is tight and the guitar solo an intermixing of techniques.

Intruder” represents another subtle stylistic shift, being perhaps one of the heaviest tracks on the album. Streaker’s drumming carries this song moreso than any other. Additionally, he has a sweet interplay with the guitar during the solo break. TORCH wraps things up with the album’s longest track, “To The Devil His Due.” The intro builds into a big, methodically played rhythm. By the middle of the song the drum and bass serve as the foundation while the guitars saw away over top. The track continues along in this manner till the final minute-and-a-half remains, at which point it transitions into a gentle, yet sinister, acoustic conclusion.

Reignited” is a serving of traditional heavy metal, with the emphasis mainly on heavy. The unsung hero of the album is Gregg, who lays down a powerful bassline that serves as an anchor for most tracks, making each song a foray into headbanging. TORCH offers up nothing overly original on “Reignited,” but rather, heavy and loud comfort food for the ear.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Knuckle Duster
2. Collateral Defense
3. All Metal, No Rust
4. Feed The Flame
5. In The Dead Of Night
6. Cradle To Grave
7. Snake Charmer
8. Intruder
9. To The Devil His Due
Dan Dark – Vocals
Chris J First – Guitar
Hakky – Guitar
Ian Gregg – Bass
Steve Streaker – Drums
Record Label: Metalville


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