Wicked World/Earache

One glance at the cover of Blo.Torch’s eponymous debut and you’d think it was a hardcore record — metal-core, at best. But, alas, 90’s metal has long since progressed beyond predictability, both in sound and vision. Case in point: At the Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul , a black-/death-/power-metal hybrid of steamroller proportions, a record that placed equal emphasis on melody, aggression, dynamics, and complexity; plus, it didn’t have a stereotypically “metal” cover (actually, quite stylish). So, it comes as no surprise that Denmark’s Blo.Torch ape said record with considerable aplomb — so considerable that they’d qualify as a cover band, minus the original ‘s elan and wicked charm.

Regardless of this derivation, Blo.Torch otherwise remains aesthetically sound, their songs as hook-laden as they are structurally complex — equally suited for both hairwhipping and calculus homework. But the band isn’t too highbrow not to toss keen dynamics into the equation; after all, “power” in music largely hinges on the emphasis of transitions. And they certainly are in touch with their emotions, especially when they reference the most-referenced bunch of metallic mourners, My Dying Bride, albeit on a caffeine binge (e.g., the misleadingly titled “King of Karnage”). Still, for as tight as Blo.Torch ‘s seams are, so is the grip of the albatross of derivation.

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