TORCHURE - The Essence (VIC Records - CD 2015)
Quite many old death metal classics have been reissued in the recent months and years, and even more are yet to come… and it’s great, as it sometimes shows me what albums I am still missing in my collection. VIC Records also is quite active in the field of re-releases, they recently reminded us old recordings of bands like Carbonized, Pentacle, Dead End, Eternal Solstice, Expulsion, Furbowl, Judgement Day, God Dethroned, Phlebotomized, Burial, Darkified, Mangled… So, many really awesome bands, which were mainly active in the 90’s. And here’s another one – and it’s actually among my favourite bands from that re-release stream; this is German Torchure. I’ve been familiar with them already since the early 90’s, already back then I had a Polish boot tape of “Beyond the Veil” (which nowadays I have on LP, ha!). It’s funny though that for many years I thought this was the only Torchure album, until when about ten years ago I found and bought the second CD “The Essence”. Nowadays both Torchure albums are rare as hell, so I am not surprised that VIC organized their re-editions. And I am also happy about it, as it can introduce this excellent, but so underrated German band to the new generation of fans of the old school death metal. I even bought “The Essence”, as it comes with two extra songs, which were originally featured on a rare compilation “This Stuff's 2 Loud 4 U”… And well, I must say that this is another well done VIC re-release. So far I was the most impressed by the work they did with Pentacle’s “The Fifth Moon” CD, but “The Essence” is also great. It comes with nice booklet, with some liner notes, lyrics, photos… Cool.
But most importantly, the music shreds. I don’t know if it’s a better album to its predecessor, maybe it is? I mean, I love both, but it’s so damn hard to pick up which is my favourite haha. Anyways, for sure Torchure has changed slightly. On one hand they maintained the trademark harsh, aggressive, thrashing death metal untouched; the band had quite characteristic sound, as well as their style of arrangements, riffing, even vocals of Martin Matzak could have been quite recognizable. The band sounded like early Morgoth meets Mercyless, Messiah (mid), early Fleshcrawl, early Asphyx… but had enough guts to create their own, individual sound. But then on the other hand “The Essence” develops the style from the debut CD and brings some changes. There are more slow, doomy songs here and what’s more, the band brought a keyboard player to the line up. And obviously Patrick Felsner was not there just to stand on the photos, but he did play in many fragments of the albums. Obviously he mainly appears when the music slows down, gets heavier, when the it becomes quite atmospheric and dark, gloomy sounding – what, by the way, brilliantly correspondences with some other, way more aggressive and faster tracks.
So, “The Essence” is exceptionally varied, brutal and sick death metal album. And it’s also one of the reasons why I love it so much. The songwriting here is just excellent, there are some songs, which are truly phenomenal… I am actually surprised that this time I prefer those slower and more atmospheric tracks, but they do sound so fuckin great! Sweet! Anyways, there are songs like “Invisible Truth”, “No Rest in Peace” and “Sinister Seduction”, which are all aggressive and brutal, fast, thrashing death metal, very much in the vein of the first album. The album even features “The Traces”, which originally appeared on the 1991 demo. Then there’s such “Cry of Madness”, which is a fantastic mix of fast and slow death metal, where doomy, melancholic part is followed by utterly merciless, violent riffing and fast drumming… and there’s also such “The Essence” or “Voice of Power”, which are all doomy and gloomy, where the keyboards fill the playing in more extensive way and generally can remind you such LPs as “Astral Sleep” for instance. I must also mention “Lost Souls”, which is an acoustic guitar based song with Martin reciting some lyrics about death, dedicated to Reissdorf brothers, who died in car accident not long before the recording session of “The Essence” took place. Actually both tracks from “This Stuff's 2 Loud 4 U” are their last recordings ever. These songs have much rawer and unpolished production, when compared to the album, it also says in the booklet that Andreas Reissdorf was searching for more atmospheric and visionary music at that time, maybe even less death metal than what we could find on “The Essence”. So, it is almost grotesquery, that if the brothers didn’t die, then this album for sure wouldn’t sound so brutal and most probably it would just be different. But that’s history now.
Anyways, please read the interesting liner notes, as they say a lot about Torchure, the work on this album, car accident, missing of good friends and the sudden split up. It also asks why such essential for German death metal album didn’t get more recognition back then. Of course one can blame the label, but who cares now, really… Anyways, now with this re-release in hand, many can finally give justice to this awesome album. I truly recommend it. It is fantastic and surely among my favourite European albums of all time.
Standout tracks: “The Essence”, “Voice of Power”, “Cry of Madness”, “Invisible Truth”
Final rate: 90/100