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Touche Amore – Is Survived By

Becci Stanley

Triangle

Touché Amore are very much a band you either love or hate. Many hate them for their slightly monotonous songs on previous albums, many love them for their quick bursts of raw energy and blistering hardcore with soft melodies that set them apart from the recent flood of generic hardcore bands. Things have definitely changed on this release, but it will certainly still divide the masses.

Opening track Just Exist already marks the change as if they are a totally different band with a melodic, lulling intro which slowly bleeds into hardcore vocals and backing music. It turns from melodic and sweet to a driving, chugging assault of hardcore though a lot more controlled and conditioned than usual. This effortlessly sways into To Write Content which is a lot closer to what Touche Amore are usually like, but only in bursts as the music twists and turns from sudden visceral shouts to the soft execution of chords creating a juxtaposed and carefully crafted track.

DNA is the closest you will get on this release to previous work as this is one quick, energetic burst of pure aggression, the lightest moment through the whole song is the haunting twangs of guitar strings, sinister cymbals and eerie drum sticks clacking together before a plunge back into darkness. This totally contradicts tracks such as Praise/Love and Blue Angel, both fluently poignant tracks in the midst of such an unrefined release.

Praise/Love has an even more painful edge with sombre, real lyrics that make the song hit home with its honest and true message against a layered mix of guitars, crashing drums and vocals becoming more and more fraught by the second. Blue Angel starts off as an average, mediocre track before slowly transforming into a moving, chilling track with bitter sweet female vocals juxtaposing Jeremy Bolm’s recognisable gruff shouts. Her vocals are almost a whisper in your ear, barely recognizable but ever so effective in this already eclectic mix of sounds and styles.

Closing track and title track Is Survived By… is a slow building, intricate tapestry of few instruments creating a plethora of different sounds and textures to create one huge, climactic finale to wow and almost confuse the listener. Guitars are fast and wailing yet also distressing at parts, drum kits are battling to both dominate and carry the track with crashing bass drums battling tinkling cymbals and the vocals as ever. A passionate assault upon fans and sceptics alike, the hard-hitting lyrics carry extra punch.

As a fan of Touché Amore previously, I was shocked by the amount of diversity on this album and definitely was not ready for such experimentation from a band that I, and many others, thought had found their sound and a sound that truly worked for them. To be so bold has definitely worked, and I look forward to hearing more and seeing what shall come next for this incredibly talented band.

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