Torpor’s Brand New Atmospheric Sludge Metal Album Packs Relentless Thrills

The U.K.-based project Torpor’s new album Rhetoric of the Image suspends massive, heavy riffs in a deeply unsettling stew of atmospheric musical misery and seems to turn each of these elements inside out, delivering near-maximum impact. The music feels designed to tunnel straight into the mind with the force of a drill bit — there’s nothing particularly subtle here, as the hypnotic, huge guitar patterns start falling into place almost straight from the get-go. Rather than providing some kind of respite, the noisy atmosphere on the album itself feels similarly maniacally large and menacing, packing a sense of some kind of deadly danger hiding in the fog. Every note hits with psychologically crisp mayhem, opening a comparatively accessible path to an emotional abyss.

Throughout this album, there are poignant, minutes-long passages of slowly but surely building tumult. The in-your-face viciousness falls away and leaves these hazy musical rabbit trails that pack a monstrous sight at the end. At times, these passages even take over whole tracks. Three of the album’s five songs are over the ten minute mark and pack the main “meat” of this attraction, while the other two establish themselves with a snaking, hazy musical unease slowly creeping up your back. The first of those has an uneasy voiceover about some physical deformity, and this element too really drives in the psychological impact of this band’s heaviness, like it’s making an imprint on the mind.

The elements on this album come together in a strikingly rousing, epic conclusion. The final track clocks in at a whopping more than 16 minutes, but it’s never boring. The music rears back over and over again, delivering gradually somehow more menacing portraits of a house — or mind — that’s now on fire. The dynamics inherent in this music even as the riffs pummel with a resounding, psychologically reverberating force truly drive the emotional sense of these images in deep. Rhetoric of the Image packs some real treats for those into diving deep into mayhem with  heavy atmosphere-drenched sludge metal.

5/5 Stars

The full album will be available on September 20 via a number of labels, including Sludgelord Records.

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