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Torque - Torque (Reissue)

Torque (Reissue)
by Sean McGuirk at 27 February 2019, 12:03 PM

When Bay Area Thrash outfit VIO-LENCE disbanded in the early 1990’s, its members went on to form two bands, both of them Groove Metal early adopters, with one, Robb Flynn’s MACHINE HEAD, sticking around and reaching far greater acclaim VIO-LENCE could ever muster.  The second band, TORQUE, formed by guitarist Phil Demmel, had a more stunted growth, only releasing one album, which has just been rereleased by Mascot Records.

A byproduct of the time, TORQUE’s self-titled record is a more metal approach to the Nu-metal glory days with less of a focus on the progressive elements that MACHINE HEAD so craftily worked into their sound.  In the end, it was probably too trendy for the OG Thrash fans and too old school for the trendy mainstream of the time. Within a short lifespan, TORQUE supported EXODUS on tour, and had a career moment playing the Dynamo Festival in the Netherlands.Demmel eventually joined Flynnin his band in 2003.

Right out of the gate on this record, you’ll hear a lot of signature groove metal tropes: quick melodic power chord changes, palm muting and gang vocals, reminding you that this disc is very much of an era.  “Again” has a rap-rock vibe that was so characteristic of that era. “Nothing” is a standout track with some great drumming from former VIO-LENCE drummer Mark Hernandez.  The circular thrashy guitar rhythms employed throughout are at times complex with a lot of drop-D palm-muted chugging. “Breed” and “Shooter” were originally prospective VIO-LENCE tracks that were reworked with Phil on vocals.  Both are highlights, with “Shooter” having a kind of slow-and-low CROWBAR-style attitude.  “Breed” is a hard-charging revving engine of a song, with Dean Dell’s palpitating bass providing the heartbeat.  “Pulled” and “Forgotten” feature some nice leads from Demmel and Ray Vegas.  “Choking”is perhaps the heaviest song on the album by sheer mass, while “Will of Stone” has an anthemic chorus fit for fringe radio play.

The closing track of the original album, “Hand Over First”, has a slow and sinister, almost atmospheric tone that hints at what could have become for this short-lived hybrid band.  Also included on the disc are four bonus tracks that make up their unreleased 1997 demo.  These tracks shed a lot of the Thrash and Punk influence and instead go for a heavier more aggressive Nu-metal attitude colored by a fair share of F-bombs.

Bottom line, if you're a fan of MACHINE HEAD, a die-hard VIO-LENCE advocate, or if you simply look back longingly at the mid-1990's Grunge Metal movement, when Metal bands were experimenting with Rap stanzas and Hardcore attitude, then this disc will be more than just a relic or novelty.  Worst case, it makes for some decent workout music.  Pass me a Red Bull!

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. H.L.S.
2. Again
3. Nothing
4. Shooter
5. Dead You Lay
6. Choking
7. Forgotten
8. Pulled
9. Will Of Stone
10. Breed
11. Hand Over Fist
12. Circling (Bonus Track)
13. Erased (Bonus Track)
14. Sever (Bonus Track)
15. Isolation / Anger Mine (Bonus Track)
Deen Dell - Bass, Backing Vocals
Mark Hernandez - Drums, Backing Vocals
Phil Demmel - Vocals, Guitar
Ray Vegas - Vocals, Guitar
Record Label: Mascot Records


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Edited 24 September 2022

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