Reviewed: October, 2021
Released: 2021, Rat Pak Records
Reviewer: Manos X
Ok not sure how many of you were waiting for something like this to happen. Todd La Torre has been the vocalist for prog metal titans Queensryche for almost a decade after having a short stint for a couple of years in Crimson Glory!
So alright if the above names ring a bell you probably have figured out that this guy is a high pitched singer that belongs to the cream of the crop. But wait a minute he’s fronting an established well known band (with an equal impressive discography) and he’s releasing a solo album? I mean WTF? Especially considering that Queensryche’s latest effort “The Verdict” came out less than 2 years ago.
Was it because of the dreadful pandemic that put a hard stop on all touring, rehearsing and recording?
Hardly. It seems that Todd and Craig Blackwell (guitar) used to play together years ago in a band named Infrared but unfortunately there were no recordings of that era.
So global shutdown was actually a good chance for the two guys to get together and start working on previous material while also composing new stuff and holy shit they did a good job!
“Rejoice in the Suffering” is one of these albums showing a band that’s hungry and eager of proving their worth to all metal lovers out there. With only a few elements reminding of Queensryche (minus Todd’s wicked vocals though) plenty of thrash elements quite close to Annihilator and with compositions that are quite close to what Rob Halford (Judas Priest) did with his projects Fight and Halford. There’s that vibe from Halford’s “Resurrection” album that is more than apparent but the thrasy riffs and rhythms make the album sound more venomous and spiteful.
A few elements from Todd’s previous band Crimson Glory make their appearance in the song “Vexed” giving a little more musical diversity.
Not that I feel diversity was needed anyway. The album bursts with killer singing, edgy riffs and meaty solos but what I loved was that the overall result was fucking heavy. No prog no djent, no jazz, no blues, just a tiny bit of alternative (thankfully not much) no hard rock, no bitching about long lost loves, absolutely no 10 or 12 stringed guitars tuned to Z without distortion. Only metal boyz and girlz, pure fuckin metal.
Now if someone asks so you if you get to hear 2-3 songs it’s you heard the entire album the answer is simply no. The aura of “Rejoice in the suffering” is obvious but meat and bones of the album is its catchy songwriting grabbing you by the throat. Badass all the way!
I left for last a few words for production of the album. How does a 2 man project sounds? Well if you’d guess adequate or just ok you’d be dreadfully mistaken. The mixing/production is simply superb. Razor sharp guitars, heavy drums, evil bass and soaring vocals what else anyone could ask for?
Really wish this album gets the attention that deserves so we’d get more from these guys in the future.
Buy or die? Fuck yes!
Craig Blackwell-Guitar, Bass
Todd La Torre-Vocals, Drums, Guitar
3. Hellbound and Down
4. Darkened Majesty
5. Crossroad to Insanity
6. Critical Cynic
7. Rejoice in the Suffering
9. Vanguards of the Dawn Wall
12. Set It Off
13. One by One