Sound is a malleable thing. Some musicians choose to stay the course in their single lane while others choose to bend it to their will through a number of different directions. Introducing Among The Torrent. Interestingly enough, this is a band that manages to do both of these things at once. They’ve established a consistent sound within themselves while simultaneously bringing together various elements of Death Metal, Deathcore, Electronic Music, Industrial Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Black Metal, atmospheric elements, and probably more. These are not the type of musicians to sit still and it produces some impressive results that work to set them apart from the pack.
Among the Torrent have pressure washed another album into existence, following up their 2012 debut effort by the name of “Aberrant”. This time around, “The Grievous End of a Curse” shines as a clear evolution of the band’s efforts. It hits hard from front to back and could be recommended for a spectrum of metal fans. The record is currently available for purchase / streaming over on Bandcamp and other select spots around the web. You can give a listen right here, right now through the streaming links found below.
“The Grievous End of a Curse” is the collision of 8 tracks exhibiting all the claims made above across the span of 40+ minutes given to darkness. Overall, it makes for quite a fun and energetic listening experience that will pull listeners in a number of directions. I could envision metalheads of many walks enjoying this music for a myriad of different reasons. Obviously, everything isn’t made for everyone but Among The Torrent do a great job of stretching the point here.
Several entries on this record prove to be quite successful in their execution. The opener “Calculated Obsession” cuts straight to the heart as an extreme opener that easily stands among my favorites. Great introduction to both the band and this particular album effort. After several listens, other tracks that really stood out included the lush musicianship and initial album twists of “Smoke and Mirrors”, the sweet Melodeath type elements in “Transcending One”, “Ropes of Time” seems to tell a grandiose and accursed story with it’s music (time in itself is a curse, is it not?), “Lights In Elevation” has some impressive progressions, the sheer scale matched with the epic feel of “Elude The Sun” is hard to deny, and the notable sonic textures of “Beauty in Mystery” (which is also the album’s longest track). With that, I just named over half the album which is clearly a good sign. That’s not to say there are weak links here… Because there really aren’t \m/
This album is chalk full of nasty moments that will surely twist metalhead faces into happy, little scowls. There’s something about well-produced extreme metal elements that are so undeniably pleasurable to the ears. The blast beats and tremolo riffs are like little brain massages that dip in and out of this album. There’s no shortage of other sounds brought into the fray as well. However, one thing is for certain – all of it sounds sharp.
That being said, “The Grievous End of a Curse” is an extremely well produced record. There’s a real clarity and edge to these tracks which is obviously the result of attention to detail behind the boards. Kudos to Nick Loiacono for sharpening this one.
As for the actual line-up behind this band… I legitimately had no idea Among The Torrent had a female vocalist for the first few listens. It was only after digging in deeper that I realized Chelsea Murphy has bigger cojones than many a male metal vocalist out there! Very impressive performance. She’s joined by significant talents in Michael Coney who handles all the composition between his lead guitar and electronic capabilities, Tony Thomas who supplies rhythm guitar work, and Ian Baker who rumbles up from down under on Bass. The band appears to be searching for a new drummer currently. So, if you think you’re up to the task and can work from San Jose, give it a shot!
Something that works to set this band apart is the key element of merging electronic music and various approaches to metal music. It’s certainly an interesting mesh of sounds that we aren’t accustomed to hearing in quite this manner. Though in my opinion, at times, this combination isn’t always for the best. Some electronic passages may seem grating while, on the other hand, sometimes they fit like a glove. There’s some give and take at play here. I tend to prefer when the electronic approach is used to support a track instead of acting as the primary element. This really comes down to the ear of the beholder.
Overall, the songwriting found on this record is pretty solid. As mentioned before, a number of elements stand out like peaks through the album’s duration. However, it does have a tendency to dip into some frequently treaded compositional middle ground between the many metal sub-genres it covers. On the other hand, it’s safe to expect some creative surprises and complexities around any given corner. When all is said and done, it’s not a perfect record but it’s certainly a good, even a great, listening experience.
There’s also a certain narrative that comes attached to this project. According to notes left by the band, “The Grievous End of a Curse” is inspired by the cult classic show The Twilight Zone. All of the tracks tell stories dipped into the realms of science fiction, horror, the fantastical, and well beyond the dimensions we’ve come to know in our feeble lives.
When we reach the grievous end of a great album, it’s easy enough to recommend this experience for other metal fans. As stated several times, it does a lot of work in many different directions which could foreseeably hook in several different ears. I generally felt like rating this album between a 7 and a 9 depending on the section. So let’s have it all meet near the middle and grant this one somewhere around an 8 out of 10.
Just to reiterate, you can go ahead and enjoy this album through the streaming links provided up there ^. It’s also available over on Bandcamp. There are a number of other ways to be Among The Torrent as well! For example, you can show them support over on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
There are already clear points of successful evolution between this band’s first and second record. The prospect of receiving a third is intriguing to say the least. Hold onto your seats if and when they come around with LP #3 ’cause it might just knock you over. Until then…