Tuesday 24 September 2019

Torpor - Rhetoric Of The Image

Labels: Truthseeker Music/Sludgelord Records/Moment Of Collapse Records/Smithsfoodgroup DIY/Medusa Crush Recordings
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 20 Sep 2019


1. Benign Circle
2. Two Heads On Gold
3. Enigmatic Demand
4. Mouths Full Of Water, Throats Full Of Ice
5. Mourning The Real

It's been an honour for me to be able to write about Torpor's music over recent years. My first introduction to them was the 2012 tape "Bled Dry" that was released via Headless Guru Records. Then came their first full-length "From Nothing Comes Everything" in 2015 released via Head Of Crom on vinyl and Black Bow Records on tape (alongside a self-released CD version). A mere twelve months later came their "Split" LP with Sonance through Truthseeker Music and now they're back with a brand new full-length "Rhetoric Of The Image" where they once again team up with Truthseeker Music, as well as other like-minded labels for a double LP release. Everything they've put out thus far has been unique and has painted them to be one of the strongest sludge/doom bands in the UK.

Embarking on the journey that is “Rhetoric Of The Image” is a mixture of both the familiar and the unknown. Familiar in the sense that Torpor has built a truly enviable reputation with the noise that the trio creates but unknown because you don’t know the level of progression that faces you. Album opener Benign Circle is immediately heavy and intense, with a sound and a volume that’s beyond anything you’d expect from a three-piece and a groove that’s subtle yet also full of momentum. It’s gloomy and the bellowed vocals are deep, but the metallic additions add light. The lengthy instrumental mid-section is meandering (in a good way) as Torpor weaves ambience and atmosphere into the song before once again, your senses are assaulted by the rapturously bleak riffs and powerful percussion. What a start to the album!

Talking of ambience, Two Heads Of Gold is a prime example of how noise can co-exist with organic instrumentation in the most unnerving of ways. The spoken-word vocals that sit within the mix don’t make things anymore comfortable. If you were expecting a straight-forward sludge album, then you’re probably still wet behind the ears. The haunting soundscapes continue into Enigmatic Demand, which like the opener, passes the ten-minute mark and then some! The long build-up is now a characteristic of Torpor’s music and here its oddly soothing while also being climactic too. The groove is back at this point and as it reaches the mid-section, the explosive dissonance hits. The bellows are real and as painfully delivered as you’d expect. They even drown out the incessant helicopter noise outside (Harrogate is currently hosting a major global cycling event and I’m on the flight path). 

Torpor settles it all down slightly with penultimate song Mouths Full Of Water, Throats Full Of Ice. It’s another ambient song with melodic vocals that will penetrate even the darkest of souls. Closing song Mourning The Real is the longest of all five on “Rhetoric Of The Image” and its as mighty as promised. The low-end is as heavy as it’s ever been and the whole band seems to be at it’s most comfortable. There’s a lot to be said for momentum, but as mentioned above Torpor just deals with it. Once again the mid-section is filled with ambient instrumentation but it doesn’t detract from the overall feel and sound of the record. It adds to it and continues to show how much this band has grown over recent years. 

We’re racing head-on to the end of 2019 (at least that’s how it feels) but there are still many great reasons to embrace the music that’s been released so far this year. This album is one of those reasons and Torpor is to thank for that. UK heavy music for the win!

You can stream and purchase "Rhetoric Of The Image" digitally below:-

Physical copies are available below:-

Moment Of Collapse - https://kollektif.eu/34-preorder

Moment Of Collapse Records - https://www.facebook.com/momentofcollapse/ 

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