Hailing from melodeath friendly Finland, TORCHIA formed in 2010. Since then have released two demos and an album entitled Of Curses And Grief back in 2017. Now they’re back with their second offering The Coven, I can draw similarities in their style to an absolute sense of bleakness such as INSOMNIUM with rather fetching lead guitar work such as OMNIUM GATHERUM which is a big compliment. Also, other elements such as headbanging chug and fast and turbulent tremolo sections which makes for a very pleasing experience.
Straight off the bat from the opening track Sky, you get a sense of the chaos and destruction TORCHIA have to offer. It’s eerie and gripping intro evolves quickly into refined mayhem with a mixture of melodic and euphonious guitars and Edward Torchia’s ruinous vocals. Love it.
Gallows is also quick to grab your attention with an absolutely neck-breaking tempo, love it. Take some pain killers if you’re going to head bang to this one, you’re in for a ride! (Trust me, I tried.)
Moon, Rise! starts with an absolutely stellar guitar intro but thankfully slows things down to a more moderate but groovy level. The video to this song, which was released back in September last year, adds a story which to me is about a crowd chasing a witch complete with an exorcising priest and the entire band being strung up from by neck (a pain I can relate to after Gallows.) It’s bleak and grotesque, good work lads!
Lord of Dreams (Cult March) really caught my attention because the chugginess hits overload levels from the word go, with an almost RAMMSTEIN-esque feel to pure groove and headbang friendly listening. The chorus is absolutely chaotic and really took me by surprise!
Plague Peasant is everything you’d expect from Finnish Melodeth; crushing guitars and vocals, drums that sound so hard you’d expect the skins to break and guitar lead so technical it leaves you feeling inadequate and thinking about selling your own guitar. (Anyone want a Chapman ML3 Modern?)
Jäämaa is nothing short of terrific, equipped with awesome guitar harmonies in faster sections and more measured chug in parts. Also finger blistering solos that makes for an interesting composition, this combined with Plague Peasant really left me in awe of Ville Riitamaa, Torchia’s lead guitarist, damn that guy can play!
Memoirs is definitely another headbanging challenge! The song introduces itself with a harmonious dazzling guitar section before evolving into a monster that is raw and rapid. The melodic and steady chorus gives you a break to appreciate just how good this band really is before they try to rip your head off again with pace. (I think I need a neck brace.)
Astral Planes is the standout track for me personally, the groove at the start grabbed me and instantly pulled me in. What you’re presented with after that is tremendous; a mixture of chuggy sections with eerie touches in the guitar work almost reminiscent of black metal. The vocal style used in the chorus really stands out here with absolutely epic war cries, before finishing with a triumphant section of stunning guitar work.
The album finishes with Forever Blood which is a fitting end to such an absolutely epic opus, being a great mixture of all the styles used throughout the album. The forceful and swift tempo is met in the middle with chuggier sections and yet again more amazing solos.
To conclude, I’m not going to beat around the bush, this is the best new album I’ve heard in about twelve months. Before now TORCHIA were unknown to me but after this experience I will definitely be following where they go next as well as where they’ve come from, it’s an absolute masterpiece.
Words: Ashley Thomson
The Coven will be unleashed 27th March 2020 via Rockshots Records.
Find TORCHIA on Facebook.