Why must everything be termed "stoner metal" these days? Heavy-ass Florida quartet Torche has been harvesting comparisons to Queens of the Stone Age for its mix of big riffs and soaring vocals. But Josh Homme's voice isn't pushed through the voice-of-God filter the way Torche frontman Steve Brooks' is (the production on this disc is superb), and Torche's riffs are much heavier than the Queens'.
Torche's stylistic roots lie in the brief moment back in the early '90s when prog and hard rock intersected. The group's forebears include bands like Soundgarden, Trouble, King's X, Saigon Kick, and the Big F (a power trio ignored then and forgotten now, formed by Berlin bassist John Crawford and drummer Rob Brill -- its debut CD is available on Amazon for, no kidding, eight cents plus shipping). Torche's self-titled debut, released earlier this year, is a stomping mix of sludge riffs, semi-rocking choruses, and the aforementioned soaring vocals reminiscent of King's X. The album is well worth hearing; don't wait until it's selling for eight cents.