On 2012's Harmonicraft, Torche found the sweet spot between sludge-fisted, planet-crushing riffage and radiant pop bliss, resulting in something akin to a food fight between Sugar and the Melvins. Restarter, the Miami-based metal unit's fourth studio long-player, is far less confectionary, but it's hardly a savory affair. A veritable highlight reel of their past three offerings, the ten-track set is a convivial, drop-tuned juggernaut of major chord malevolence that distills sludge, doom, pop, punk, and stoner metal into a fist bump that breaks fingers. Torche have been on a trajectory to break the sound barrier since issuing their 2005 debut, and it takes virtually no time to deliver on that promise. Opening salvo "Annihilation Affair" is a largely one-note, perpetual sonic boom that houses a screaming, feedback-drenched center (like much of Restarter, you'll feel it in your bones before your brain begins processing any sort of emotional reaction), and its largely midtempo cadence goes a long way into easing (so to speak) the listener into the near frantic fireworks display to come -- all of the album's under-three-minute offerings ("Bishop in Arms," "Loose Men," "Undone," and "Blasted") are straight-up barn burners. When the band isn't spinning molar-melting cotton candy they're doubling down on the hypnotic drone-sludge that helped propel Meanderthal to the top of so many 2008 year-end lists, opening up the blast furnace with the near perfect "Minions," finding their inner Black Sabbath on the bold and ballsy "Believe It," and riding into the sunset and then melting away on the anthemic title cut, an epic, near-wordless, eight-and-a-half-minute midnight highway drive of a closer that, like everything on the outstanding Restarter, repeatedly beats you senseless, but leaves no bruises.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger