It’s hard to listen to any of Torche’s recordings and not have the biggest, stupidest, shit-eating grin on my face. Heavy? Hells yes. But it’s such a groovy-puts-a-smile-on-my-face kind of heavy that it matters not at which decibels their glorious sounds are being expunged from my speakers thus making me deaf.

Harmonicraft, for me, was easily one of the most anticipated records of 2012 and now that it’s here I can easily say that it exceeded all of my expectations. It’s possibly the best Torche record yet as well. If you were a fan of single “Kicking”, it’s a pretty good indication of Harmonicraft overall but it still barely scratches the surface of what lies underneath.

Underneath you’ll get songs like “Snakes Are Charmed” with its monster The Edge inspired riff or “Sky Trials” which sits up alongside “Healer” for me in the Torche upper echelon of songs. A minute and a half (barely) of pure amp-fueled heaviness, quite simply, it rules. “Walk It Off” sits in that realm as well and could easily have been on 2010’s Song For Singles EP. Torche have mastered the art of grabbing you with a hook, a drum beat, and a rifff and then leaving while the party’s still good.

When Harmonicraft veers anywhere over the three minute mark (not often), it’s really worth your time to pay attention. “Reverse Inverted” has a chugging drone of sludge interspersed with some solid soloing culminating in a duel of the squeals that resonates well beyond the song’s climax. Another scorcher that just says “Smile while you bang your head” is “Kiss Me Dudely” in which Steve Brooks just emits joy.

It would be an injustice not to mention the sonic masterpiece that is the title track. Like a locomotive, “Harmonicraft” chugs along and brings the Torche sound to places they’ve yet to master until now. It’s an instrumental and that works great because adding vocals would either a) ruin the song or most likely b) shut down the listener’s brain because of the added awesome. And if your brain is shut down, you can’t enjoy Torche anymore. Which would be bad.

Harmonicraft is out on now through Volcom Entertainment.

Grade: A

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