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Album Review: Stage Four by Touché Amoré

Los Angeles artful indie post hardcore band Touché Amoré release their new album Stage Four via Epitaph on 16th September. Formed in Burbank, California, across 2007 and 2008, the band’s urgent sound, with its melodic sonic assault and impassioned vocals, has grown tighter and more refined through a trio of full-length albums and a series of EP’s and releases. With this, their fourth album, they’ve produced their biggest, most ambitious and best piece of work to date.

With Stage Four, Touché Amoré solidify their place as one of rock music’s most compelling and irresistible bands. This album not only is their best, but it also stands out as one 2016’s best albums. For the listener that has tried with Touché Amoré before and found their brand of melodic hardcore a little too abrasive then this is the perfect release; while retaining the visceral energy there’s something a tad more accessible this time round. It’s a more refined version of the band. Old fans will love this too, it’s still undeniably Touché Amoré, just an improved version.

It’s hard to imagine an album with more emotion and relatable content crammed into (just over) 30 minutes. There’s something about the cathartic delivery of vocalist Jeremy Bolm that is just so relatable. There’s so much emotion in the vocal that you feel that you’ve been through it yourself. Whether it be the themes of death and faith like within ‘Displacement’; mental health and self-doubt of ‘Rapture’ or the haunting New York ode ‘Skyscraper’ you feel as if the lyrics were written especially for you. “I don’t open up to people too much in regular life, but when I’m writing songs, I want to be as open and as honest as possible”, Bolm confesses.

Image result for touche amore stage four

It’s not just the lyrical content that makes Stage Four so special, you’ve got 11 of the best track released in 2016 here. Take ‘Benediction’ as an example, it’s a perfect song – from the post-punk style bassline through to the visceral guitars you can’t help but fall in love with it. While ‘Eight Seconds’ just about troubles the one-and-a-half-minute mark it comes out as the band’s most accessible and refined track – the abrasive guitars are toned down a notch yet still contain all the melodic hardcore energy you could want.

‘Softer Spoken’ takes you on an emotional rollercoaster before ‘Posing Holy’ sets itself out as the go-to post hardcore track of 2016 – this is the mark of Touché Amoré now carrying the torch for all post and melodic hardcore. They’ve gone from being one of the best to scene leaders. If that wasn’t evidence enough ‘Water Damage’ shows the band’s versatility and compounds the fact that Stage Four could be a life changing record.

AD Rating 10/10

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