Eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Ross Robinson – who, in producing Korn’s self-titled debut in 1994, essentially created the nu-metal sound and sold a million wallet chains in the process – was to be given the job of recording Touché Amoré’s fifth album. Here is a man who brought Limp Bizkit to the attention of the world. The group in question is a sensitive, introspective melodic hardcore band from Los Angeles, California, who on 2016’s ‘Stage Four’ ventured deep into the grief singer Jeremy Bolm experienced upon losing his mother to cancer.
Of course there is more to Robinson’s résumé than musical war crimes. In 2000 he helmed the production of At The Drive-In’s immortal ‘Relationship Of Command’, while he was instrumental in making The Cure’s eponymous 2004 record the late career triumph it undoubtably was. Perhaps Robinson’s unique skillset was required to eke something more from the band. This has long been a group who have consistently chiseled great marriages of beauty and rage. 2011’s ‘Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me’ was that year’s most interesting rock album. But ‘Lament’ is a true statement.
In many ways, this is a record also about grief; a record about where America finds itself right now. There is a sense of fear and foreboding about the frigid ‘Exit Row’. There is panic in the chassis of ‘I’ll Be Your Host’, while the anxiety laced through ‘Reminders’ could only come from men who’ve spent great stretches of time watching late-night television news. And yet the record’s greatest moment is also the warmest, it’s prettiest and it’s most optimistic, whereupon the band – no strangers to collaboration – invite Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra and his soft, soppy vocals to help deliver the most beguiling song the band have ever committed to tape. There’s probably a message here about hope ultimately triumphing over hate.
The quality of Touché Amoré’s output has never been in question, and yet sometimes this band of ordinary men with extraordinary understanding of their craft has often been obscured by some of modern rock’s flashier voices. It would be cruel, and indeed, unlikely if ‘Lament’ didn’t change that. It’s unthinkable that the record won’t take the band to new audiences. This isn’t merely a record by a good band. This is a record by an important one that is now teetering on the edge of greatness.
Release date: October 9
Record label: Epitaph Records