Keep everything perfectly in balance; a rule that Touché Amoré have always lived by. Being as heavy and punishing as they are beautiful and inspiring, the band have climbed the ladder to become one of the most coveted and influential bands in the hardcore arena. And now, with the follow up to 2014’s ‘Is Survived By’, the band will once again be looking to completely change the face of the scene.
Musically, Touché Amoré have matured and developed in a really interesting way. Where before their offerings were furiously scrappy and breathlessly emotional, the songs on ‘Stage Four’ feel more contemplative. Jeremy Bolm still tears at himself in a way that no-one can, but does so in a very different manner. Brutally honest with his own demons, subconscious and actions within his life, the lyrics that cover the rumbling chords of ‘Stage Four’ are still as harrowing and touching as ever, but at times rather than using his trademark and pained yelp, Jeremy stretches his singing voice to its saddened and heartbreaking limit.
‘Benediction’ and ‘Palm Dreams’ drum at your frontal lobe with steady but piercing beats and moments of unrestrained aggression, while on more familiar ground ‘New Halloween’ and ‘Softer Spoken’ jangle with dissonant chords and burrowing sadness. Yet it’s in the gorgeous love letter feeling of ‘Skyscraper’ that this album’s jewel lies. With the exceptional Julien Baker propping things up, this track shows the level of transformation the band has undertaken and the genius that is hiding within. A new angle of looking at things while staying true to your original goals; a vital and unappreciated skill.
With ‘Stage Four’, Touché Amoré have once again redefined themselves and the genre as a whole. Forever pushing their boundaries to their absolute limit, the band has dug deep and pulled out another slab of emotionally touching and experimental hardcore that will make everyone else work that little bit harder to keep up.
‘Stage Four’ by Touché Amoré is released on September 16th on Epitaph Records.
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)