Verdict: 80’s still alive and well
More info: www.torokmusic.com
Torok are a new name to me, but have actually been together for 10 years. This is their 3rd release. The touring band currently consists of Mike Torok on guitars, Bryan Erickson on vocals, John Jankowski on keyboards, Bill Holmberg on bass and Tim Davis on drums. However, the band that recorded the album consisted on main men Mike and Bryan together with some guest musicians.
Mike was the original guitarist in 80’s shock metal band Impaler. Combining this fact with the somewhat sleazy album cover, I’ll have to admit that my expectations for this weren’t that high. I was expecting some sort of sleaze/punk rock in a third rate Motley Crue impersonation.
Listening to album was a pleasant surprise. The band describe their music as blending elements of 70’s giants such as Led Zep and Purple with the 80’s hard rock bands like Van Halen and Whitesnake. Just goes to show I should actually read the promo flyer instead of opening the packet, sticking the CD in the player and hitting ‘play’. It turns out that the band’s own description is fairly accurate, although I’d say there is a lot more 80’s than 70’s happening here.
Opeing track, “Wolf Within”, is a deceptive track that rocks out more than you might expect for a mid-tempo track. The drum sound in particular contributes to “Full Moon” sounding like Van Halen who are also a point of reference for a couple of other tracks (such as “Breathin'”). By the time you get to “1000 Reasons” is clear that vocalist Bryan likes to be up front in the mix and not hiding behind a wall of sound which I’ve noticed on few albums I’ve been listening to recently. His voice suits this style of music. For example, he sounds like Mr Coverdale on “Breathin'”. Whilst I’m on the Purple theme the penultimate track “The Burden” sees the band sounding like Purple/Rainbow, albeit an 80’s metal version.
The title track, “Addiction of Fools” which is the fourth track, is a poignant piano led ballad that sits like a rose amongst the thorns of the rest of the album. I like the way it sits in contrast the result of the album. The couple of songs that follow, “Infamy” and “Do U Harm” rock plenty, but somehow seem to suffer by comparison. The strangely titled “Y” has got a bluesy/funky vibe kinda like Extreme, who crop again as a reference point for album closer “Forsaken”.
Although I listen to a variety of music, 80’s hard rock is one of my favorites. However, as fans of the genre will know at one time there were plenty of bands playing this type of music, but fewer bands doing it well. Therefore, I sometimes tend to give bands in this genre a hard time, as “it’s all been done before”. However, if a band does it well, then I make an exception and Torok have created an album that stands up well compared to others in the genre.