Torche

support Oxx
author PP date 08/11/15 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

A Sunday night show, the least favorite day of the week for musicians and venues alike because of how difficult it is to draw people out of their weekend routine of doing nothing and into a show. And those that do show up rarely display the energy than Friday or Saturday night crowds do, at least not in Copenhagen. Tonight, between 80 and 100 people are here to witness Torche, whom according to many reports from Aalborg performed an absolutely devastating set of pop-stoner at Aalborg Metal Fest earlier this weekend. Nothing less should be expected from a band whose past two albums have occupied countless top five spots at end-of-year lists and whose new album "Restarter" is likely to do the same for 2015. They deserve a bigger and more active crowd on the back of that one and 2012's "Harmonicraft", that's for sure.

Oxx

Oxx

Tonight's supporting duties have been given to Århus based experimental metallers Oxx, a trio that consists only of a drummer, a guitarist, and a third guy who doubles as an effects mastermind and saxophonist. Their name is ironic considering their music is everything else but the Oxxxxxx guitar tablature it hints at; instead the band plays weirdo experimental metal that draws similarities to the jazz-fueled metal tunes of Ephel Duath. Here, we are dealing with unconventional percussion, mood-setting saxophone passages that are accompanied by silently plucked individual guitar notes, before the time signature changes completely around and we're in black metal territory with tremolo shredding and primal roars that bring to mind extreme metal. Speaking of extreme, that is the only way to describe the technical prowess their guitarist displays on his fret. Double tapped melodies and techniques rarely seen by other metal bands means it feels awe-inspiring to watch him play. At the same time, the drum patterns are so weird that they, too, are hypnotizing to watch, all the while their facial expressions range from orgasmic on the guitarist to menacing evil on the effects/saxophone guy. Towards the end, a Christmassy saxophone melody reigns above heavy guitars that sounds so comical it draws some laughter from the crowd when it abruptly stops the song. So what have we witnessed in the 40 or so minutes the band play? Artsy, jazz-laden, weirdo metal that's too experimental for its own good. Perhaps that's why the crowd has thinned out considerably as we reach the end of their set. The last song is fantastic, everything else was a little bit too unconventional to work properly. Bonus points for technical delivery.

Torche

Torche

It doesn't take long until tonight's headliners Torche are on stage. They've brought their own sound guy instead of utilizing BETA's own Rasmus Toftlund (whose ingenious work at the knobs always results in perfect sound), which, unfortunately means the mix isn't balanced anywhere else in the venue except right in front of the mixer board. This reviewer stood there the whole show and found the sound satisfactory but overheard many complaining about it after the show. Then again, with a sound so muscular and bass-heavy as Torche's, it's difficult to find a balance with the dreamy, pop-laden vocals that on record have brought them so much success especially within the Pitchfork segment. Tonight, they open with "Sandstorm" from one of the older albums, which leaves everyone at the venue rather underwhelmed, but things are quickly picked off with "Minions" and modern stoner classic "Kicking" following, which has the entire crowd bobbing their heads to its infectious grooves.

It's a Sunday show, so that's about as much activity as we'll get from the audience for the whole night. That's perfectly fine, though, since Torche's music is best experienced with your head banging steadily back and forth while you let their hypnotic grooves lull you into a dreamy stoner pop world that few realized existed prior to "Harmonicraft" broke it into our collective consciousness. That doesn't prevent their vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks - who bears significant similarity to Angel Batista from popular TV show Dexter - from jumping into the crowd to dance amongst us for a lengthy instrumental passage.

Torche

As the set drones along (couldn't resist), the tightly played songs seem to get progressively better, or least the crowd reaction does just that. Cheers get louder and while the set could use some humor in between the songs (or any interaction for that matter), the unison headbanging that we all partake in the audience is enough to have me convinced. Curiously enough, the band omits "Loose Men" from "Restarter" altogether, which is probably the best song they've written after "Kicking", but otherwise the band play a wealth of great tracks tonight. It's about as good as a Sunday show's gonna get, and I bet there are many in the crowd with sufficient hearing damage from the bruisingly heavy bass guitars.

Setlist:

  • 1. Sandstorm
  • 2. Minions
  • 3. Kicking
  • 4. Reverse Inverted
  • 5. In Pieces
  • 6. Healer
  • 7. Across The Shields
  • 8. Vampyro
  • 9. In Return
  • 10. Sky Trials
  • 11. Grenades
  • 12. No Servants
  • 13. Believe It
  • 14. Restarter
  • --encore--
  • 15. Charge Of The Brown Recluse
  • 16. Undone
  • 17. Annihilation Affair
  • 18. Harmonislaught

Photos by: Peter Troest

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