By Colonel Angus

Back in the early 80s, I was a young record buyer who made many choices based on record covers.  That is how I got into KISS and IRON MAIDEN.  How could you not get sucked in by Eddie?  So when I saw the first TORCH album, I passed on it immediately.  If it wasn’t for an older (and wiser) record buying friend, I would have never heard TORCH or their second album “Electrikiss”.  Both had horrible covers but the music was right up my alley.  It was straight ahead metal in the JUDAS PRIEST /ACCEPT vein with catchy riffs and great vocals from Dan Dark.  Soon after, they broke up and left a small mark on the metal community.  Fast forward to 2013, the band reformed with 4 of their original members with new guitarist Hakky along for the ride.  After some well received shows, the guys have gone back into the studio to record and unleash “Reignited”.

This new release has come at the perfect time.  Traditional metal seems to be having a resurgence and the chugging metal riffs have become fashionable again.  Hell, even the cover artwork is better this time around but let’s face it, it was never about the wrapper, it was what was inside that mattered.  And on that point alone, TORCH have released another great record.  All the elements are intact from before; the catchy riffs, the thunderous drums and bass, and the melodic vocals.  “Reignited” starts off with some crackly record sounds before it launches into a scorching rocker.  Since they have a sound similar to ACCEPT, I was afraid we would get a rip-off of “Fast as a Shark” but “Knuckle Duster” is a straight up metal anthem with more of a JUDAS PRIEST vibe.  

In fact, the disk as a whole still contains that JUDAS PRIEST/ACCEPT sound which is fine by me.  “Collateral Damage” even has those background vocals reminiscent of ACCEPT’s “Balls to the Wall”.  Elsewhere, you get some great thumping bass and a catchy chorus on “Feed the Flame” and “Intruder” contains this swagger that really sets it apart from the other tracks.  Even though “In the Dead of Night” starts off a little mellow, it quickly turns into a mid-paced metal rocker that would have been a hit single back when hit singles existed.  While there is a sameness to many of the tunes here, they are all very catchy and the quality is high throughout.

I don’t think TORCH would be same with a different singer so I’m glad that Dan Dark is still fronting the band.  While his vocals style is very Udo-like, he does have some unique qualities that make him stand out.  Chris J First and Hakky have come up with some great catchy riffs for “Reignited” and their guitar work throughout has that great 80s metal sound.  I especially like the fact that they play many of the beginning riffs slower giving the songs time to build.  Many of the great 80s records used that technique but some newer bands try to make the songs fast right of the bat losing some that fist pumping feeling you get with the opening riffs.  Ian Greg and Steve Streaker are also back and put in a rock (metal?) solid performance.  Sometimes the bass and drums gets buried in the mix but on “Reignited”, they are right there in full force making the overall sound a powerful one.  Many bands are not able to pull off a solid reunion.  They play the old tunes (and not very well) and they perform with a hackneyed line-up until no original members are left.  TORCH is the exception to that rule.  Not only is most of the line-up intact, they moved forward with a release that fits nicely into their catalogue.  If you want a great traditional metal album that will bring you back to the 80s when metal was fun, purchase “Reignited” and get ready to pump your fist into the air.