Oldschool Sunday: TORQUE

Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

The Bay Area thrash band Vio-lence fell apart. In its eroded state, circa 1993, guitarist Robb Flynn had exited the previous year and Perry Strickland soon followed suit. It was around this period that guitarists Phil Demmel and Ray Vegas, bassist Dean Dell, and drummer Mark Hernandez formed the thrash band Torque.

Ironically, this was the exact quartet, along with vocalist Sean Killian, who played on the 1993 Demo from Vio-lence. By 1994, Torque had recorded and independently issued the three-song, appropriately titled ‘Demo 1994′. It was followed the next year by the four-song ‘Demo 1995′, as the band honed their style of riff-heavy, groove-fueled thrash. There were moments of progressive metal in the band’s music, as well – which, by the way, featured Demmel on vocals.

In 1996, Torque signed with Mascot Records, with whom they would record and release their one and only official full-length, self-titled album, ‘Torque’. By this time, the quartet had fully realized their somewhat Pantera-influenced style of caustic thrash.

That’s where any and all comparisons to the Cowboys From Hell should end, though, as Demmel’s unique vocals are in a class all of their own. Not saying that Phil can’t sing or anything, just that his gravelly, somewhat hardcore-tinged vocalizations are assuredly stand-alone. Meanwhile, the music of Torque featured blistering guitar work (as expected, of course) and the solid rhythm section of Dell and Hernandez.

For whatever reasons, Torque was soon without a label once again, but they managed to independently issue one more four-song effort, ‘Demo 1997′ before calling it quits. Vio-lence would eventually reunite for some events and, of course, Phil Demmel eventually joined his former Vio-lence bandmate Robb Flynn in Machine Head.

Drummer Mark Hernandez has had stints in Forbidden and, more recently, Dress The Dead. But the Torque story does not quite end here, thankfully, as news surfaced this week that their original début album will be re-released via Megaforce Records.


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