Torrential Thrill – State of Disaster Review

Australia boasts a booming trade in classic and classic-influenced rock bands. The likes of AC/DC, INXS and Midnight Oil introduced the world to Down Under’s rock music, and have proven to be influences on hundreds of other bands. One such group is Melbourne’s Torrential Thrill and their third full-length entitled State of Disaster. I can’t confess to prior familiarity but look favorably on the rocking attitude and strong guitar leads promised by band descriptions online. I, therefore, hit play with the hope that these 11 tracks would have me donning my rose-tinted spectacles.

The core of Torrential Thrill recalls the hard rock / heavy metal crossover of the early 80s, with the guitar flourishes and harmonization of the former versus the punchier rhythms of the latter. Disaster uses a production aesthetic that is decidedly more modern, with a guitar crunch that only exists post-2000. An album like this develops its ideas through its guitars, and the best riffs here have a powerful drive and big grooves. The substantial, crunchy feeling extends to the vocalist who utilizes various styles which are all underpinned with a sneering, fiery attitude. He demonstrates palpable personality and good technical control, deploying a touch of roughness when circumstances demand it. The result is an album that playfully levers various classic rock touchpoints. “State of Disaster” has the dual-guitar attack and major key peppiness of 70s Wishbone Ash. “Role Model” has the theatrical silliness of mid-80s Van Halen. And “Animal Like Me” has the thrashy grooves and extravagant solos of 90s Metallica.

Where music is derivative and simple, it lives and dies by the strength of its melodies. And the songs here are, typically, quite simple. Most tracks use just one core guitar lead and one core vocal hook and Disaster, therefore, becomes predictable by its third track. It isn’t attempting to surprise or subvert its listener and therefore needs to stick the landing on those hooks. Songs like “High Society” and “Itch” use big dipping grooves which compel headbanging, while the latter of these layers an exciting solo over its powerful, driving lead. At the other end of the heaviness spectrum, “Breathe” is the best of the ballad-type slower tracks. A lonely acoustic guitar builds a fragile atmosphere while the lilting pace and careful crescendos develop the song into one of the album’s most enjoyable. However, I’m left questioning the purpose of other tracks without such memorability. “Colour of Roses,” “Know My Song” and “Crossroads” do little to interest me and indicate how Disaster runs out of steam towards its conclusion. The hooks on the album are not all made equal, so it would be better with a tight 8-9 tracks than with the 11 it has.

I’m also left with the sense that Disaster is less than the sum of its parts. Torrential Thrill boast plenty of satisfying guitar and vocal hooks. They have an undeniable energy and an identity that’s theirs despite their obvious influences. And yet I’m not especially compelled to return once the record is done. This is at least partly attributable to the persistent repetition which blunts the edge of even the best melodies. There are simply too many choruses on each track. None here wouldn’t be improved by chopping off 1 or 2 repetitions, thereby saving a minute or so per track. Disaster is fundamentally solid but its energetic core would be better serviced with tighter songwriting. I’m aware this complaint is as trite as it is predictable at Angry Metal Guy, but there’s a reason why it arises so often. Even more than most, Disaster would vastly improve with just a little more songwriting discipline.

An entire hour of engaging, exciting music proves to be a bridge too far for Torrential Thrill. It’s not just the more forgettable tracks; even the good ones require some trimming. But the remainder of Disaster entertains, prioritizing rowdy guitar leads and flamboyant vocal hooks in a rousing exhibition of rock influences. It may not be perfect but those hunting metal’s equivalent of easy listening could do a lot worse.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 1st, 2023

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