Friday, 16 August 2013

Torpor - Bled Dry Tape


Jeez, who ordered the second summer! It's warmer now than it has been for a few weeks, yet I'm sat here basking in the obscene heat being kicked out by my laptop. Still, it's worth it in the end. The dust has settled since my Headless Guru Records feature, but there's still one band to write about, London/Brighton based sludge/noise band Torpor. Shortly after that label feature, I ordered all of Headless Guru's records, as it was the first time I'd have wages for a while. Amongst the package, was one of the last copies of Torpor's Bled Dry tape. It came packaged in a custom case and the music resides on a brightly coloured cassette. It's nice to see HGR bucking the trend and not pressing music on black cassettes.

Anyway enough small talk, let's talk about Torpor. They're another relatively new band. They surfaced last year and this tape was released earlier this year, so it's still pretty fresh. Torpor have also been busy sharing stages with some kick-ass UK bands, including Eagleburner and the mighty Slabdragger, to name a few. Torpor are more than helping to elevate the UK's growing sludge scene into a force to the reckoned with.

Tracklist:-

1. Bled Dry
2. Ashes
3. Blackened Lungs
4. Anchors

Much like the majority of HGR's current roster, Torpor play at the sludgier, grimier end of the spectrum, with a subtle hardcore edge. The main difference here is that Torpor's vocalist is female. Of course, female vocalists aren't anything new in metal and Nats will have many a burly male vocalist running scared. The cathartic, abrasive screams that sit alongside clean screamed passages give their sound a different and welcome slant. The guitars, bass and drums add tonnes of heft and volume to the music and make it as claustrophobic and intense as you'd like. In Ashes, it's the low end that digs itself out from beneath the undergrowth. The deep minimal guitar, the buzzing bass and thoughtful drumming are not overdone and the metallic leads, while used sparingly, give the song flecks of colour. The sludge banner is well catered for. as is the noisier elements of hardcore that have been so effective of late, yet it doesn't feel like Torpor are merely copying what's come before them. It's a unique take of the sub-genre that avoids any gaping Americanism’s and stomps all over you!

The production on the tape is really effective and gives Bled Dry a real genuine sound. You can hear every pluck of bass, echo from the drums occasionally and the feedback that fills the speakers thickens the mire. Blackened Lungs sees Torpor taking their foot slightly off the gas, but in its place, the mid-paced anguish released feels even more soul wrenching than before. The metallic elements in the song add a sinister tone, which just pulls things deeper into suffocating territory. The second half of the song slows down to almost a crawl and brings out the doomier side of the band. At high volume, it's like you’re actually in the same room with them! Torpor pick things up again with Anchors, which despite its initial urgency is the lengthiest track on Bled Dry. Built around a series of riffs that seem to wrap themselves in ever increasing noise, it's as miserable as you'd expect while still being engaging. I still can't get over those vocals though! I don't think I've heard any this terrifying since I put Rape Revenge on at high volume and scared my own family.

You could pretty much get away with just ploughing a furrow filled by UK bands and you'd find enough variation and skill to get excited about. Torpor, while only unleashing four initial tracks, have set their own personal bar very damn high. As they start to progress and grow, I'm sure they'll only get more visceral.



At the time of writing this review, Headless Guru Records has one copy of Bled Dry left. It may now have sold out, but you can chance you're luck here - http://headlessgururecords.bigcartel.com/product/torpor-bled-dry-cs. It's also up as a pay-what-you want download.

If it has indeed sold out, fear not. You can buy a CD version direct from the band here http://torpor.bigcartel.com/.

Torpor Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/torporsound
Headless Guru Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HeadlessGuruRecords

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