Torpor ‘Bled Dry’ CDEP/DD 2012

Torpor 'Bled Dry' CD/DD 2012Ah here. No. The alarm bells go off when I see tags on a Bandcamp page that say “noise metal”, “post metal” and “doom metal” on the same page – there’s no noise on here for starters, very little I’d refer to as doom, and any band using “post metal” immediately boils my piss. Hint: “post” means “after”, so to me “post metal” suggests you’re not playing metal – or are just to embarrassed to admit you are. It’s the mainstay of bands who are worried at just being called “metal” will make them seem less intelligent or something equally daft, and is second only to “blackened” as an adjective that immediately makes me dislike a band. So I’m ready to hate Torpor based on that, before even hearing a note.

Luckily, I’m pleased to report I don’t hate Torpor‘s take on heavy music, regardless of how they or Bandcamp describe it. Rooted firmly to these ears in what sounds like the pathologically tight sonic battering of prime time Unsane and the more blatant metallic groove of Will Haven, the opening pummel of “Bled Dry” possesses a ridiculously low tuned bruiser of a riff designed for maximum impact. Vocals alternating between a hoarse rasp and a yelled but clear female counterpart, the call and response effect works well. A strong opening gambit.

“Ashes” follows without any let up in the density in the riffing department, the mid-paced groove they’ve settled into fitting them nicely – the mid section is a bit of a let down though, as after a few pauses they crowbar in an awkward section that sounds a little bit like a botched attempt at a mosh breakdown, and this is the first sign that maybe I’ve misjudged what they’re going for sonically (more about that when we get to the last song). Thankfully, it’s only a brief slip that lasts a few bars and they regain their dignity quickly. “Blackened Lung” is more of the same, but half way through they slow to a crawl. This is my favourite bit on the recording – not only because the change works perfectly with the song, but because there’s a real heaviness at work in this section that suits them well.

“Anchors”, however, is where the veil slips and they blow it. Throughout the two preceding songs I’ve found myself thinking there’s the occasional hint of someone in the riffs that I can’t quite place, but with this song it dawns on me : they sound like Korn with nastier vocals. It isn’t hugely noticeable elsewhere and I doubt it’s intentional as they’re a heavier band than that overall. But the balance of groove and power slips here and you almost feel like one of the vocalists is gonna bust out an “aaare youuu REEEEADDDDDY” halfway through. At this point they lose me completely for the rest of the song as it feels blatantly like a collection of riffs discarded from that band’s first album.

Overall there’s a lot of potential here. Certainly their DIY approach and the conviction in their delivery is commendable, and musically there’s a lot to like for sure. A little more variety might suit them in terms of pacing however as in places things get a little samey. The music needs a little more tension. My gut feeling is this is the sound of a band striving for their own sound and identity, one which is clearly anchored around getting the listener bobbing their head rather than banging it, and that there’s a lot of work to be done yet. Still, they play well together as a unit and this is a fine start. Just less of the nu-metal next time round please.

Label: Self Released

Scribed by: Jamie Grimes