New Band of the Week: Torchbearer

Prepare to be blown away by a new force in UK hardcore music that, in their own words, is set to become “a powerhouse that will send shockwaves through the music industry.”

London-based rockers Torchbearer have conjured up a sound that is among the most intriguing we’ve discovered recently. The Newport, South Wales-born band fuse furiously heavy hardcore punk meets metal with elements of melodic rockiness in an intense, engaging and diverse sound. As they put it: “We create freely without giving a fuck about sub-genre conventions. What you get is a mix of hardcore, metal and rock I guess.”

The quartet of Andy Mansel (lead vocals), Ollie Gould (guitar and backing vocals), Mo Bashir (bass) and Scott Harris (drums) have an interesting backstory. Ollie was previously in a hardcore punk band that toured Europe a couple of times, Scott was in metal band Collapse, then they found Andy providing guitar and backing vocals in a rap metal band. And the Welsh quartet came together to form Torchbearer when they all ended up in London.

They are about release new EP Against the Tide next Friday (12 July), on which Scott tells us: “Expect big hooks and a new curveball on the hardcore/metal scene.”

And the first track released from the new EP promises plenty. Paralysed is much more punk sounding than their debut EP yet retains their heavy edge. It opens up with cool punky riffs under Andy’s energetic shouty vocals. Backing vocals come in cries of “Paralysed, I cannot move, Suffocated, I cannot breath,” then clean vocals “You know you’ve got me right where you want me, Like an insect I’m caught in your web,” give way to Andy’s shouted vocals once more.

A second chorus is followed by a huge guitar solo over punky chords and Andy’s screams and pounding drums, then drops into a section of cool little guitar riffs. That drops into low-tuned guitar chords under big screams that feed into a final blast of the chorus. Check out this absolute banger of a track below:

On the new track, Andy tells us: “The debut was kind of a blueprint for the band. We’ve taken more risks this time and tried things that were outside of our comfort zone to help us keep pushing our sound forward.”

To which Scott adds: “I feel like our sound is growing with each song we write. This EP shows that and I can’t wait to unleash this stuff.”

The Torchbearer sound has been inspired by classic metal bands as well as more hardcore influences like Comeback Kid, Alexisonfire, Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die. While Ollie tells us an iconic song first got him into metal and, specifically, big dirty riffs.

As Ollie explains: “I listen to bands literally all day. On the way to work, in work, on the way home, in the flat and when I sleep. I just can’t get enough of music. When I was 12 a mate of mine down the skatepark was blasting My Own Summer from his white ’95 Vauxhall Nova. That riff captivated me. I could not stop listening to it after that moment.

“I’ve been obsessed with riffs ever since I discovered Deftones. That then led to Metallica and Pantera. Then I started playing guitar and pretty much all I’ve ever done since is write riffs. I’m just obsessed with them and I don’t know why. Riffs are fucking awesome.”

An interesting side story to all of this is that the band’s heavy sound has been dismissed as “the Devil’s music” by the devout Muslim family of bassist Mo Bashir.

On that Mo told us: “The devil’s music was quoted by my father who’s a devoted Muslim. I was raised in a strict Muslim household – the idea of being in a rock band was forbidden. Ironically, however, I grew up listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit on cassette in Sudan before moving to the UK at a young age. I idolised Flea growing up which led me to buy my first bass.”

We’re excited to hear what’s coming our way when Against The Tide drops next Friday, and if this preview hasn’t got you intrigued then Ollie’s description of the Torchbearer ethos should help: “We don’t impersonate Arnold Schwarzenegger and we don’t wear gimp masks. Our intention is to separate ourselves through the most mouthwatering riffs and seething vocals, balanced with beautiful melodies and thunderous bass alongside a frenzy of drums.”

And it’s clear that Torchbearer that are only going in one direction. As Ollie tells us: “Put it this way. We dropped the video Vultures off our first EP two years and seven months ago and it’s had 1.4k views on Facebook. Paralysed has already had 1.5k views in one week. This is gonna be sick.”

There’s plenty more to come from Torchbearer in addition to the new EP, including releasing a debut full-length album – which they’ve already half-finished. Ahead of that you can see them play a free show at The Old Blue Last in London on 26 July along with Chaos Reigns – which should be an awesome show. And they’ll also be touring the rest of the UK and Europe shortly.

So there’s plenty of reason to be excited about what’s coming from the band. As Scott adds: “If you enjoy the EP, just wait until you hear the new album stuff. The stuff we started making after the EP will transform Torchbearer into a powerhouse that will send shockwaves through the music industry!”

You can follow Torchbearer on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes and YouTube.

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