Doomsday in Douglasdale is the debut full length from Torches to Triggers, a Calgary based melodic hardcore band formed from the ashes of This is a Standoff and Inventing the Wheel. Doomsday in Douglasdale also rocks; this is an album so fast and full of fury that playing it at any volume but max volume sounds sinful. Torches to Triggers seems hellbent on branding their sound into the listener’s memory, turning fiery aggression into art form. And fortunately, for the most part they succeed. While not immune to some of its own idiosyncratic missteps, Doomsday in Douglasdale is a thrilling debut that seeks to remind us of melodic hardcore’s vitality.
Torches to Triggers is an instrumentally phenomenal band– guitars blend melody and aggression seamlessly, pulling stylistic traits from punk, metal, and the wankiest of 80’s rock. Thankfully it never comes off as muddled or confused, and avoids feeling self indulgent. Although it usually escapes my spectrum of perception, I found myself listening to the drumming more than usual on this album, in awe as sparse blast beats transform into technical metal-style percussion at a moments notice. But as much as I can praise the instrumentation, it’s hard not to shed light on the vocals without sounding like an overexcited five year old, stuttering while trying to explain his favorite ice cream. If I were to make a comparison, I would say Zoli Teglas would be a fair one– both having a high, piercing voice with range and venom to spare. It makes every line sound damn near operatic, but when the screaming happens, the opera house comes crashing down.
“Dead Sea” opens the album with a bang, featuring breakneck speed and irresistible melodies. It almost sounds like a ramped up Bad Religion until the chug-a-chug breakdown with the low scream vocal accompaniment of a spectacularly grand “OH SHIT!” that blurs the line between unintentional hilarity and awesomeness. “My Zombaby” features some appropriately gory imagery to complement it’s title (“Main course is rare fillet cerebellum and a soup de synapse”). Other standout tracks include “Business as Usual,” which features a menacing melodic riff that brings with it a sense of sinister intentions and tension. Final track, “Promise in Disguise,” includes a bluesy extended solo that one might not expect to fit so well in a fast punk rock song, but does nonetheless.
While Doomsday in Douglasdale is fast, fun, and furious; it lacks lyrical content of much substance. For much of the album, it feels as if the lyrics were written as an afterthought, with more thought put into making rhymes than writing resonant poetry. A lot of times the songs also feel scattered, as if the writer couldn’t find enough to say about a topic and decided to either switch topics or desperately reach for a tangent into more fertile material. While never cringe worthy, the lyrics definitely lack in comparison to the rest of the album, and perhaps if Doomsday in Douglasdale wasn’t as striking as it is, the lyrics would be given a pass. But unfortunately they pale in comparison to the talent displayed in literally every other area of the album.
But despite it’s content, it’s hard to argue that Torches to Triggers debut is anything but great. If you want an album to blast doors down, this is it. If you want an album that proves punk can be just as instrumentally sophisticated as its long haired brother, here it is. And if you want an album to remind you why you got into punk, Doomsday in Douglasdale will relentlessly oblige.
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