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Torche finds it easy to be hard

By Gary Graff
Digital First Media/GraffonMusic on Twitter

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Torche began making hard-hitting, heavy rock out of Miami 11 years ago. But the much-ballyhooed arrival of former Detroit Lion Ndamukong Suh with the city's Dolphins is of no real concern to singer-guitarist Steve Brooks.

"Nah, I was an indoor kid," says Brooks, 40, who formed Torche -- which plays Friday, March 20, at the Pike Room in Pontiac -- in 2004 during a hiatus from his other band, Floor.

"I played music and was into music and wasn't a fan of the jocks and sports. I'll go to a baseball game or a football game, but I'm not into any teams. I were a Boston Red Sox hat 'cause my ex gave it to me and gave me a guilt trip for not wearing it. I was like, 'This is a baseball team?' "

Brooks' passion for music has led Torche to four albums and several EPs, all pursuing a kind of sludgy, leaden sound that's made the quartet a favorite of the metal underground. But Brooks says Torche's recently released "Restarter" lives up to its name, at least a bit, by incorporating different and even more melodic elements into the mix.

"We wanted to do something a little different this time," he says. "You don't want to write the same record over and over again. I thought (2008's) 'Meanderthal' and (2012's) 'Marmonicraft' had a lot of similarities, but on this one we took a simpler approach. It's more of a mellow vibe."

But, Brooks quickly adds, "It's still powerful. We try to write powerful songs that could be sort of in the vein of a power pop song or something really heavy or space-rocky, something like that. (Restarter) is just...pretty. It's intense in its own way and darker, but it still sounds like us. I like that i's just heavy and I like that it's slower-paced. We've got so many fast songs it's nice to chill out once in awhile."

Brooks, meanwhile, continues to mix his duties with both Torche and Floor, which released its third album, "Obiation," in 2014. Floor heads to Europe as soon as Torche finishes its current tour, and then more shows are ahead for Torche during the summer. "It's pretty easy to move from one to the other," Brooks says. "It's not the same music but it's the same mindset, and doing one keeps me fresh for the other, so it's all good that way."

Torche, Nothing and Wrong

Friday, March 20. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Pike Room in The Crofoot 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 day of show.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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