Miami has earned its fair share of notoriety over the last 30 years, but most of it has been nothing to brag about: The Liberty City Riots, the Mariel Boatlift, and the Cocaine Wars of the early 1980s recast the formerly sleepy beach town/retirement colony as a lawless urban hellscape crowded with pimps, powder queens and cutthroats, where liquor-store shootouts, revenge bombings and police corruption threatened to drown the tourist trade in an ocean of blood, booze, and yayo. But now the peace-loving citizens of Miami finally have something they can hoist high as an enduring emblem of cultural and civic pride (besides KC & the Sunshine Band, Gloria Estefan and 2 Live Crew, obviously) …

Enter Torche, the four-pronged Floridian Riff Colossus that has steamrolled its way across the international underground. Led by vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks (formerly of doom dropouts Floor) and featuring the myriad talents of drummer Rick Smith, bassist Jonathan Nuñez and guitarist Juan Montoya, Torche unfurled their self-titled debut in 2005 via Richmond, Virginia's Robotic Empire. The glorious half-hour of blissed-out power-grooves, triumphant vocal harmonies and cosmic resonance within was variously hailed as "stoner pop," "thunder rock," and "doom pop," but a consensus was quickly reached within the Fourth Estate: Both the underground and mainstream press had their hands halfway down their pants just thinking about listening to Torche. The band was immediately lauded as giants among men, leaders among sheep, and powerbrokers of a deadly new sonic idiom founded upon Brooks' signature "bomb-string" detonation-detune. As Decibel magazine so righteously pointed out in May of 2005, Torche "carries on in the dizzying Sabbathian tradition of Floor, only potentially more bottomless and epic." Seven months later, the same publication would declare Torche as the # 7 album of the year in its annual top 40.

"Never let it be said that bong-rock types hate hooks," Spin magazine announced. "Torche set their guitars on 'dirge,' work their vocal harmonies, and say amen to Foo Fighters' riff-o-matic preaching."

"At long last, we know what life would be like in a parallel universe where the Melvins became a pop sensation instead of Nirvana," Revolver magazine added.

With the verdicts in, Torche swiftly set out to slay, punish & conquer. Stateside tours with Scottish post-rock marvels Mogwai and hypno-metal heroes Isis ensued, as did a European invasion with Savannah sludge captains Baroness. "[Torche's] debut jaunt to the UK will undoubtedly leave a monumental impression on the audiences they have played for as they mix the pop-tinged catchiness of tracks such as 'In Return' and 'Erase' with the likes of 'Iron Girl' and boil it down to a cocktail of raw and powerful sludge-filled beauty," Terrorizer magazine gushed after witnessing the band's show at the Manchester Attic. Rock Sound issued similar proclamations after the London Underworld show: "Louder than a really loud thing, Torche hit the stage with all the grace and subtlety of a misfired nuclear warhead. Sounding far fiercer than on record, the Florida outfit's 'bomb-string' assault is truly a thing to behold."

So: Citizens of Miami, rejoice. Music fans, exult. Torche are about to rule your stereo and your face all over again.

Here's what a few magazines and publications have said about us:

"Veteran Winnipeg noise-rock trio KEN mode's Kurt Ballou-produced fourth album Venerable is one of the best records of 2011, bar none…From opener "Book Of Muscle" to closer "Make Shark," KEN mode mix AmRep toughness with heavy, doom-y melodies and angular, chiseled hardcore that pummels as well as it sticks easily, comfortably in your head…Think David Yow doing crunches, Unsane with more swing, a dirtier Helmet, a younger/hungrier (and Canadian) Today Is The Day." – Stereogum.com

"As I said in 2008, KEN Mode rules. If Unsane spent less time at Swans shows and more at hardcore matinees, they'd probably rip out noisecore obliteration like 2008′s Mennonite and 2006′s Reprisal" – Brooklynvegan.com

"If tertiary 2008 effort Mennonite revealed noisy metalli-rockers KEN Mode to be growing comfortable blazing their unique swath, Venerable turns that unbeaten path into a four-lane highway. The trio then put the hammer down and barrel forward with a menacing grin." – Exclaim! Magazine

"Earlier this year, on their first US tour in six years, KEN mode wrote a series of tour diaries for Decibel. After the magazine's recent site redesign, I can't find those diaries anymore. But I remember a particular detail from them. The band stopped somewhere for supplies (Wal-Mart, I think), and its shopping list included protein powder. Touring bands' shopping lists usually begin with beer and end at whiskey. Someone in the band is a jock, I thought. Which makes sense – when I listen to KEN mode, I think of a more athletic, yet more bookish Jesus Lizard. Maybe if that band had put down its beers, hit the gym, and boned up on the music it helped spawn – noise rock, hardcore, mathcore, even post-metal – then returned to whip the kids at their own game, it might sound like KEN mode. Venerable is indeed a protein powder-fueled beast." – Invisible Oranges

"This is how I know KEN Mode rule: I saw them play a virtually empty bar about five years ago and still remember that gig like it was yesterday. In this day and age, when half of what hits the stage when I decide to part with my precious time and leave the house doesn't even register, this is a triumph-and-a-half. …Not only do they sound like a raging beast wired on the up-tempo bits 'n' pieces of Unsane's discography, but in the case of much of the new material, KEN mode evoke the brutality of Unsane's Total Destruction and Unsane album covers brought to musical life." – Decibel Magazine

"With their debut 'Mongrel' and the stellar follow-up 'Reprisal', Canada's best kept secret established a reputation for perfection jagged, chest-tightening riffs that not only demanded your attention but commanded it as well. Consequently, they have a lot to live up to. Luckily, they've done it again… They've eased up on the straightforward drive 'er home Keelhaul heaviosity, while maintaining the mid-'90′s Black Cross punk meets Melvins undertone, and zoned in on the dissonant Kittens country quirks and Botch-flavoured guitar antics that had previously played second fiddle to the spirit of crushing riffage." – Terrorizer Magazine

"Winnipeg's KEN Mode have run a tight ship since their inception, resulting in two previous provocative and unforgettable releases. Yet even with the musical muscle showcased on Mongrel and Reprisal, there was still room to grow, to become more comfortable in their warped, artistic anti-rock/metal hybrid, as opposed to being consumed by the youthful tendency to prove themselves. With Mennonite however, we celebrate the power trio's bar mitzvah; they're grown men. Still uncompromising and heavy yet feature a few more laidback — for them — grooves and tracks that grow into the focal point rather than rage from start to finish, Mennonite accomplishes more in one track than even KEN Mode probably thought possible. Incredibly well rounded and gripping, the album rages through thick, drawn-out battles of emotional torment, strikes fast and deadly with two-minute shots of rage, seizes with bastardized pop metal bravado and mesmerizes thanks to the band's relaxed attitude and comfort in their skin." – Exclaim Magazine

"I'm not gonna try to demarcate what the hell these three Canucks are capable of in a song, but I'll say this: (KEN mode) should be ground-zero for you disillusioned souls looking for granite-heavy, solid 'heavy mental' that's as challenging as it is battering." – Metal Maniacs

"The daily grind (pun intended) at a school where geometry, heavy metal history and chaos theory are the only courses offered." – Alternative Press

"Although it shouldn't, it always somewhat surprises me that KEN Mode is able to expand on what they've already done. However, the fact that they are able to speaks volumes as to just how good this band is. This is noise-rock at its finest, if you haven't managed to check out KEN Mode yet then you are really missing out." – Built on a weak spot

"There are drummers and there are drummers. Then, there are drummers. Ken Mode's skin basher Shane Matthewson belongs to the latter kind; the ones that organize and gather the masses. The ones that make the difference and are, through skills and gusto, able to elevate the sound of a band from the above par to the outstanding. And kudos to the band too. Quite frankly I wasn't expecting a three piece to come off as potent as Ken Mode. Guitarist vocalist Jesse Matthewson (is this one musical family or what?) bends his axe in quasi mathematical manners, the riffs are played in Forrest Gump ping-pong speed angularity, shooting off in all directions and…the result is an explosive encounter between post hardcore and noise rock. " – Deaf Sparrow Zine

"Maybe too much noise-rock for the metal crowd and maybe too much metal for the noise-rock fans and definitely too much of everything for the pissy-pants hardcore-kids, but hey, what a great record." – Monochrom

Cherokee Rock Rifle

We Are A Rock and Roll Band. No Fucking Frills.

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Torche with Kenmode, Cherokee Rock Rifle

Thursday, May 30 · 7:30 PM at Czar Bar