Dredg, Torche

Dredg is a powerful live force that creates an unrelentingly heavy wall of guitar noise, but like a more metal-influenced Explosions in the Sky (or a less pop-centric Coheed and Cambria), the Bay Area quartet's strength lies in its ability to tell a very involved story mostly through subtle dynamic shifts in mood and texture. Both onstage and in the studio, Dredg takes its time: The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion, Dredg's first album since 2005's Catch Without Arms, is due in June. Opener Torche's latest full-length, 2007's furious Meanderthal, out-rocks just about everything that's been released this decade. From the super-sub-low rumbles and lightning-blast guitar riffage of opening tune "Triumph of Venus" to the title track's apocalyptic death-knell hits, it perpetually grinds forward like some kind of improvised escape route from a crumbling, doomed city.


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