Torpor is a British doom/sludge trio from London. The band who makes a lot of noise entered the heavy scene a few years ago with “From Nothing Comes Everything”. Although being a good debut album, the band got really recognized by sludge fans one year later, after the release of the split with Sonance containing the great track titled “Jasager”. Now after three years, Torpor is returning with a new crushing record titled “Rhetoric of the Image”.
It all begins with a song called “Benign Circle”. The track features a shoegaze-like guitar intro, which is slowly surpassed by the distorted bass sound and pounding drumming. The whole track aesthetics is completed with the growly screamed out vocals. After a few minutes, the sound evolves into a very climatic and also a bit depressive piece with the heavy sounds being replaced with a clean guitar section. After this gentle bridge, the powerful wall of sound returns with a repetitive, hypnotic riff. This repetition involves the listener in a trance, feeling like you’re being pulled from one side to the other, over and over again leading to a finale that leaves you craving for more. The final stage of the ‘Benign Circle’ reminds of a horror movie soundtrack with the tension hanging over the listener’s head.
“Two Heads on Gold” is a composition that mixes drone music with doom metal. Slow repeated electronic and industrial sounds are accompanied by minimalist drumming here and there. A haunting hum that gets stronger and louder becomes the background for the lyrical content expressed in a calm spoken-word style. The silent voice of bands bassist Lauren Mason is interrupted by a single sentence screamed loud by a male voice. The droning sound continues throughout the whole track and this melancholic noise combination takes us into the next track “Enigmatic Demand”. The first part of this piece maintains the mood presented in the previous song. Then it all changes again and strikes the listeners with another powerful dosage of sludge with loud guitars, harsh vocals and a juicy bass sound as the song reaches its finale.
“Mouths Full of Water, Throats Full of Ice” is the most interesting and unexpected composition in the entire record. While its title is something that can be extracted from our nightmares, the song itself is not. On the contrary, it is quite soothing. It’s something totally different from the rest of the album and hardly a metal track. Yet, that doesn’t matter, does it? Haunting ambient music enriched with the lovely female vocals that take us to other planes like the music produced by Chelsea Wolfe or if we’re reaching out to other genres, Promise And The Monster. Analyzing the big picture, this shorter song acts as an interlude. It perfectly represents the calm before the storm. The eerie peace we need before Torpor takes us into the final and inevitable drag into darkness.
The record reaches its last stage with “Mourning the Real”. Although being the longest track (over 16 minutes), it does not really bring anything new than the previous tracks but is another good mixture of uncompromised noise with melancholic moments.
“Rhetoric of the Image” is a damn good followup to “From Nothing Comes Everything”. Torpor maintained the style presented in their previous record, mixing sludge metal with lugubrious atmospheres and shoegaze influences. The contrast between harsh music and both growl and clean, gentle female vocal parts makes it very interesting and grasping to listen to.
Review by Kasper Pasinski
Managing Editor: Filipe Gomes