- Twelve songs in 22 minutes. And two of the songs are a combined 9 minutes of play time. You do the math and this equals grind. Ferocious, venomous grind. North Carolinaís Torch Runner are devastating, and on their debut album, Committed To The Ground, these guys waste no precious seconds in letting the listener attempt to catch their breath.
Like already stated, this is grind, not rocket science, so expect simple yet blistering riffs, blastbeats truncated by d-beats and monotonous vocals that are highly toxic. The production is definitely influenced by the HM-2 styled production that bands such as Trap Them have helped reinvigorate in recent years. In fact, Trap Them is a great point of reference if you were to harvest their most fast and chaotic moments. Toss in some Converge, The Secret and Napalm Death and youíre close to their melting pot of grind, crust and hardcore.
Iíve barely seen mention of these guys, but this is probably one of the most intense albums Iíve heard this year (seriously, 2012, I expected more heart-rate accelerating records! Whatís the deal?). Itís visceral and I applaud them for producing an album of such savagery. This year has seen a lot of albums shrug off intensity in favor of artsy-ness or progressive aspirations (big generalization I realize), but just look at Decibel Magazineís Top 40 records of the year. There are what, MAYBE 4 or 5 albums that Iíd call intense in terms of severity. Maybe Torch Runnerís kind of records are flash-in-the-pan and not ďyear end listĒ material, but Iíll be damned if volume, speed and vitriol canít go toe-to-toe with any creative ambition. But I digressÖ
Torch Runner keep things very simple. In the same way a band like Nails isnít going to go off on random tangents or divert from a singular focus, Torch Runner craft each song as lesson in extremity. Essentially, there are eight songs, each averaging around 50-60 seconds long, which are broken up by four longer tracks. Those longer tracks are pretty much the same sonically, but delivered with a slower, sludgy approach. The four and a half minute ĎThe Holy Are The Brokení being one of the best of the slower songs, demonstrates that you can still get pummeled even with a slower tempo (and a malevolent vibe only helps to ensure the listenersí horns are raised). Sure, the band isnít breaking any new ground, but their sheer power earns them big points. While their songs may not be the most memorable, and they might not appear on year-end lists, theyíre definitely filling a vacant space of intensity that for me has been sorely missed in 2012..
- Release date: November 15, 2012
- Split release with Communitas Records