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Torn Away – As We Rise Award winner

Torn Away
As We Rise
by Max Elias at 28 March 2021, 1:11 PM

The new TORN AWAY album opens on a surprisingly cerebral note for a metal release. “The Viscera Enigma” steadily layers on a chorus of ethereal clean guitar lines that hover somewhere between arpeggiation and soulful bluesy lines. There is a slight presence of gain to them as they fade out with a repeated chord vamp and give way to the bassline. The song gives off a modern hard rock vibe rather than a metal one, with the clean, punchy vocals and the staccato chord-based riffing. The most ‘metal’ riff is the short break between verses at around the 4:30 mark. After the song fades away at the 6-minute mark, the calming, reverberating clean guitars return to usher listeners gently through the remaining minute.

TORN AWAY are at their most interesting when they are deviating from their straight-ahead, fairly bland hard rock riffs (such as the intro of “The Viscera Enigma”, which is incredibly melodic and interesting); contrast between parts like the lilting intro of “Made of Stone” and heavier riffs is one of the band’s strengths. The band feels more creative when they write cleaner parts; the intro to “Waste” (which picks up seamlessly from the fade out on “Made of Stone”) has more funk and groove to it than the big, cavernous power chords in the choruses. It helps that they have an excellent vocalist as well, without whom the music would feel stale. His ability to switch between gentle and driven singing and even put some harsher bite in there lends a renewed dynamism to the music.

The first time a really fist-pumping riff emerges is “Sinner”. It comes out swinging with a chugging pedal tone between rotating power chords. The slightly off-kilter rhythm of the riff makes it seem to swagger more. A short solo echoes the energy of the rhythm section without taking away from the song’s structure.

The raw, determined forward march of “Sinner” is a one time event, as the band returns to more grandiose music with “The Grey Matter”. The second-to-last song on the album feels like they wrote the same kinds of parts played by a clean guitar on songs like “Waste”, but used a distorted guitar instead, which makes the song feel like a power ballad; but the ultimate power ballad on the album is the final song. “Torn Away” has everything—emotional clean guitar, soaring vocals, and big power chord dominated choruses. And whereas there were small lead breaks here and there throughout the album, “Torn Away” throws in a proper ballad-worthy guitar solo.

As We Rise is a good album with well-constructed songs that demonstrate TORN AWAY’s melody-focused approach. The band plays classic hard rock with a bit of contemporary influence. Fans of strong vocals in heavier music will no doubt love this album, but though the songs are good and there is some creative instrumentation, the riffing is oftentimes generic.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Musicianship: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Viscera Enigma
2. God Complex
3. Made of Stone
4. Waste
5. You Don’t Know Jack
6. Sinner
7. The Grey Matter
8. Torn Away
Lineup:
Cameron Frechette - Guitar and Vocals
Joe Huls - Bass
Kevin Bindschatel - Drums
Marcus Shaffer - Guitar
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 18 April 2021
 

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