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Gig Review : Torche deliver incredible stoner metal to The Palm House

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Whilst winter is upon us it is a Friday night, time for the weekend to start. Even more significant is that it is a Friday the 13th, so will it be unlucky for those attending tonight’s offering in the Palm house? Absolutely not! In fact it’s a very lucky night, especially if you are into your stoner metal. Tonight sees three top bands Psychedelanaut, Zlatanera and none other than the mighty Torche rock the joint.

First up on stage are local band Psychedelanaut, bringing excellent grooved up stoner metal to those who turned up for the early showing. The weather and the fact that a number of other gigs are on as well as the pre-Christmas work dos that are on may have affected the numbers the band play heir hearts out with “Odessa” and “Pine” to get everyone there in the mood.

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They have a powerful epic sound as they sludge their way through these two fantastic songs. Then with “Wizard” they just pounded out the riffs with a passion that sends pure stoner power around the room.

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More people are gathering and moving forward like they are being called to something special. And it is. They power home with “Giant” to prove a point before delivering their last song “Cosmic Tiger”. There is no getting away from the fact these guys deliver a live act that has to be seen, and anyone arriving late should be kicking themselves.

A quick turnaround and up next are the well-rounded local band, Zlatanera who dominate the stage as lead singer Aaron Orr owns the area as he clearly feels at ease playing in front of an ever growing crowd. That energy and fun sweeps off stage and circles the room.IMG_0021.jpg

They charge up the place with “Wired” and “Particle Find” as the massive grooves and riffs resound off stage as this hard hitting and very tight five piece deliver stoner metal by the bucket loads.

There is no standing still and moping for these lads, this is music you have to move to be it foot stomping or headbanging. Then comes “Kronos” and “Ruby Red” as they continue the onslaught of infectious grooves with incredible polished delivery with a hard, heavy thunderous and intoxicating style.

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These songs reverberate through you not just around you. “The Funeral’s Off” and “Bad Case Of The Devil” finish their set proving the point that these guys know how to deliver the doom in a live setting. Definitely worth seeing live.

Then come the headliners Torche. Delivering songs like “from Here”, “Submission” and “Minions” they immediately land home the point that they are a band of heavy, heavy groove and are masters of their craft. The heavy groove riffs and incredible vocals deliver a wall of noise they is irresistible and relentless.

Times Missing”, Admission” and “Extremes of Consciousness” continue an unyielding and inexorable journey of almost biblical proportions. The crowd has now packed out the place and are caught up in a mesmerising display of a whole different level of stoner metal.

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On they go as they swoop and sway like a behemoth relentlessly moving to the sound of thunder and lighting. The sound itself is the be all and end all as each person there is transfixed and having their own personal epiphany. The reverberation of the music has the state of being preternatural and almost prehistoric in size and nature.

Each song is delivered with such passion and the crowd respond. Heads are flaying feet are stomping in time to the rhythm. The raw power and controlled aggression makes Torche feel like this is what it would be like if Henry Rollins found stoner metal. It is guttural. Not just the vocals but the whole sound. The band create a brutal resonance throughout that gives you a calm rage, it is relentless and powerful beyond words and delivers a thundering performance.

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On they go with the likes of “On The Wire”, “In Pieces” “Reverse Inverted”, ”Charge of the Brown recluse” and “Barrier Hammer”. Sometimes they create a natural break between songs to allow the crowd a slight reprieve whilst elsewhere they just continue from one song into another. It is a thing

Review by Ivor Whitten

Photography by Metal Planet Belfast

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