Swedish HM band Torch who originated in the 80’s return in 2020 with a brand new album after a 36-year absence. Rating: 85/100.
Written by: Dave T
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sweden
LINEUP: Dan Dark – vocals * Chris J First – guitar * Håkky – guitar * Ian Greg – bass * Steve Streaker – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Knuckle Duster * 02 Collateral Damage * 03 All Metal, No Rust * 04 Feed The Flame * 05 In The Dead Of Night * 06 Cradle To Grave * 07 Snake Charmer * 08 Intruder * 09 To The Devil His Due
Eskilstuna natives Torch started as a band in 1980. Mistakenly dubbed ‘The Torch’ in their formative months, they released the ‘Fire Raiser’ EP and the full-length albums ‘Torch’ and ‘Elektrikiss’ in 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively. Having built a reputation as the Swedish Motley Crue, the guys managed to get the opening slot at Motorhead‘s Nordic tour back in July 1985, only to be fired after the first show when powerful drummer Steve Streaker trashed his drum kit at the end of the last song.
Unfocused and dissatisfied with their (then) last album, the band called it quits in early 1986. Torch returned with Dan Dark (born Östen Bidebo) as the only original member for 2009’s ‘Dark Sinner’, an album with mostly re-recorded versions of earlier material. In 2013, the original lineup minus Claus Wildt (replaced by old friend Håkky) reunited. After a gig at Sweden Rock Festival 2018, in 2019 the band started writing new material for their first album in 36 years.
Recorded by the band themselves and mixed/mastered by Jacob Hansen (Pretty Maids, U.D.O., Amaranthe, Silvera), the album sounds a million bucks with every instrument pumping electricity, in particular the twin guitars and the pounding drums.
This is old school 80’s Metal with a contemporary sound. Dark used to be influenced mainly by Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson and marginally by Guy Speranza (Riot) in the old days. In 2020, he is a cross between Udo Dirkschneider and Biff Byford, if you will. The songs are firmly rooted in mid-eighties Accept with bits of Judas Priest thrown in for good. Perhaps there are no pacy songs like ‘Watcher Of The Night’ off the debut; but everything is groovy, beefy and the energy is contagious.
Opener ‘Knuckle Duster’ is like a bulldozer hitting a wall followed by the Priest-sized riff of ‘Collateral Damage’ that features random hammer on steel percussion bits and monk chants a la Accept. The anthemic ‘All Metal, No Rust’ is essentially an old school Metal hymn that hints at the legendary ‘Balls To The Wall’. With its proud lyrics and menacing pace is an open invitation to bang your head, while the enthusiastic ‘Feed The Flame’ is based on big power chords.
‘In The Dead Of Night’ is a more atmospheric song that includes clean guitar arpeggios in the verses and it’s a welcome change in pace before the bombastic, primal, sleazy-sounding bass-heavy ‘Cradle To Grave’ and the thunderous ‘Snake Charmer’. ‘Intruder’ is another healthy dose of power chords and massive choruses while the last song ‘To The Devil His Due’ is also the longest one off the 42-minute album, a dark track about the challenges the world is currently facing that includes spoken-word passages.
One of the better comebacks and Metal albums of the year. With renewed energy and a superb sound, Torch has released what arguably is their best album ever, 36 years after their previous one. Amazing.
All Metal, No Rust
Cradle To Grave