Brighton doesn’t often seem like the typical place to spawn a sludge/doom metal four-piece band as monumentally crushing and as grim as Torpor. Then again, when you consider that some of England’s supposedly “happiest” places bear witness to the extremest bands of this generation, it’s hardly surprising. That said, 2015 marks the return of Torpor, and the band’s debut album is certainly served with a heavier, more menacing tone than that of their EP, “Bled Dry” back in 2012. Because as visceral and unrelenting as the music on “Bled Dry” was, debut album “From Everything comes Nothing” seems both more malevolent and thoughtful.
The band’s debut album seems to detail a much deeper focus on how raw production can actually prove a bonus when sludge and post-metal influences seep in-and the end result is for the most part, consistently menacing. The majority of the songs here, whilst sticking to a seemingly well-rehearsed musical formula, do end up leaving the listener in awe because of the lack of one-dimensional musicianship. For every guitar riff, there seems to be an underlying groan throughout, which is definitely due to a more cohesive all-round effort regarding the rhythm section. Opener “From This Time”, “The Wake” and “Everything We left Behind” all begin with isolated, lonesome guitar chords matching feelings of hopelessness and despair to grim, dull musicianship, yet within a minute or so Spada’s belligerent vocal delivery clashes with the sludgy rhythm section in as fluent a transition as you could have hoped for. The same themes and tones are explored, of course, but by the time each of the aforementioned songs have ended, the listener experiences a more-than-meets-the-ear moment and so re-listening to these three songs is a definite must.
Speaking of Spada’s vocal delivery, there’s quite a lot of diversity to be found here. Cleaner vocal ranges don’t seem to be as prominent until later on in the album, as on “As Waves Crash” and “Abandon”, but when that particular style comes into effect, the overall soundscape seems somewhat fuller. Not that Spada’s harsher growls are comparably weaker, but neat little touches like this are what set apart the best from the rest-and especially when you consider sludge and doom metal. Spada’s monstrous growls can be just as visceral however, and she wastes no time in complementing the grim musicianship on opener “From This Time” and closer “Everything We left Behind”, two songs which are practically twins but somewhat different at the same time.
Despite the album’s generally striking impression, there are a couple of filler-based tracks here. Instrumental “The Wake” seems a little empty when it has been placed amidst songs as malevolent and memorable as “Surrender to the Light”, and its successor, despite trying to incorporate the same effects as its lengthier peers, remains a more unnecessary number in the end due to excessive repetition. Yet two tracks here don’t seem to mar the album’s general flow, and before you know it the final menacing tones of “Everything We left Behind” leave scars hard to get rid of. What we have here is, besides a great kickstart to Sludge Metal’s entry into 2015, the work of a band who are slowly but surely bringing themselves into the light (or dark), and on this evidence, it certainly won’t be long before Torpor are bringing the misery to the masses.
1. From this Time
2. Surrender to the Light
3. The Wake
4. As Waves Crash
6. Everything We left Behind