TORCHIA – The Coven

TORCHIA – The Coven

Lately, the renowned Canadian promoter, Jon Asher and his Asher Media Relations seem to have many melodic death metal bands on offer. There is an upcoming review of Chronicles Of Hate’s "Birth Of Hate" and Your Last Wish’s "Eradicate", both released a couple months ago, but one came out last month in the form of this Finish act Torchia’s "The Coven" album. It’s been awhile since I have heard such well done and fresh sounding Gothenburg with unusual and varied structure, and excellent production, but I wish the songwriting were more consistent.

Founded in 2010 in Tampere, Pirkanmaa, Finland, after the founding vocalist’s Eetu "Edward Torchia" Hentunen stage name, the ensemble released two independent demos, "One" (2013) and "Ending Beginning" (2015), before the first full length, "Of Curses And Grief" (2017) on Concorde Music Company. After securing a new label in Rockshots Records and the support of the aforementioned Jon Asher, Edward Torchia (vocals), Henri Heikkinen (rhythm guitars), Ville Riitamaa (lead/rhythm guitars, backing vocals), Pirkka Birkstedt (bass) and Ville Virtanen (drums) recorded "The Coven", a 9 track, 37:22 minute affair.

Stylistically, this album is a combination of Gothenburg Trinity (At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames) with Children Of Bodom’s first three albums, especially "Hatebreeder", in some metalcore-ish and black sauce. When the tracks are good, they are excellently balanced and catchy, such as the very memorable De Profundis/Paradise Lost opener, "Sky" or the complex blackened "The Gallery/Mind’s I" Dark Tranquillity of "Gallows" and "Moon, Rise!", the latter with notable "The March" Unearth melodiscism. The thrashy "Jäämaa" and the My Dying Bride-ian "Memoirs" are also very good but they come after and before album’s less captivating material, which brings me to the flaws.

Almost half of the tracks are merely good, including the powerful old Opeth-ian "Lord Of Dreams (Cult March) or what I call "metal for metal’s sake" symphonic "Plague Peasant" and the material gets progressively less interesting and less catchy toward the end, as if Torchia ran out of ideas halfway through the proceedings.

Despite its shortcomings and inconsistency, "The Coven" offers enough great melodeath to satisfy Gothenburg lovers. I’m a little worried that they display this inconsistency still on their 2nd album, but I trust they will remedy that on album no. 3.