Some bands only seem to fit in in the unique setting of a festival. Seeing the seven piece drumming collective that is Torann play their sweaty, bracing, pulverising live show is one of those delirious festival memories that leaves you thinking, do I remember that right? Did that really happen, or has three days of drinking in a field played havoc with my mind?
Incorporating percussion patterns from influences as diverse as rock, house, metal, hip-hop, tribal and Celtic roots, Torann bring drumming to its animalistic peaks, delving into the drum’s ferocious power as an instrument of release.
And maybe because of this essentially live energy that drives them; ‘Weapons of Mass Percussion’ is the group’s first attempt at recorded release, despite nine years of touring festivals in Ireland and abroad.
Fortunately the EP captures the essence of their passionate, free-for-all performances. It is about as resounding and memorable as a four-track percussion-only instrumental music can be, not that there are all that many competitors in that particular genre.
‘Weapons of Mass Percussion’s real strength has to do with its seamless production from Guerrilla Sounds (aka John ‘Spud’ Murphy, who has produced albums for the likes of Hands Up Who Wants To Die?, The X, Don Vito and The Jimmy Cake). The EP is essentially a live record, with all of the drumming being performed live by the entire group. The production of Guerrilla Sounds then takes these furious live beats and harnesses them with a leash of electronic effects, which only serves to up the intensity even further rather than tame it.
The result is a bracing four tracks that pulse out of the speakers and transport the listener to savage, untamed land.
The distorted opening of Too Many… recalls The Prodigy at their most uninhibited, welling up from a moody ambience to a pulsing beat of an undulating dance floor. Torann Theme plunges headfirst into a ferocious chasing rhythm, and reaches its zenith on a full-on roaring battle cry.
Far from just being a wall of noise, the arrangements flow with rhythmic fluidity. The various drums alternate around each other on 26 Degrees, popping along at different times – and complemented by the delicate whoosh of electronic effects – before all crashing in as one for a samba rumble by way of Motörhead.
Monroe is the most industrial track of the four, chugging along like a well-oiled machine, with infinitesimal moving parts all whirring in unison – incorporating rolls that hiss like jets of steam and crashes that feel like the clang of steel on steel.
It should have been impossible to bottle the Torann live experience, but ‘Weapons of Mass Percussion’ makes it look effortless. It occupies a kind of nebulous middle-ground between instrumental metal and industrial/electronica, without ever really giving in to the limitations of either. As a record to stick on when you need to let off a bit of steam, there are few better options.