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The best kept secret in music


"Review at"

There is no shortage of bands on the Independent scene today that are playing really good stuff! In any city of decent size, you can find several excellent bands that are just as good, if not better, than a lot of stuff that you hear on the major labels. There is also a larger variety of musical styles available to listeners today than there ever has been! You don’t just have to be a Metal fan; you can be a Hardcore Metal fan, or a Speed Metal Fan! You can be a fan of Pop Punk or Emo! You name it, and there’s a flavor of music out there for you!

Torn, a hard-rocking Metal band from Chicago, IL, is definitely hard to pin down with regard to style. According to their bio, they wanted to form a group ‘with the ferocity of Pantera and Metallica, combined with the melodic yet crushing rock of Alice In Chains and Soundgarden’. Apparently, the formula is working for them, because good things are definitely happening! After only two years in existence, they not only have completed their first full-length album (the subject of this review), but have played most of the major clubs in and around Chicago, at times to capacity crowds! They are also sharing the stage with big national acts and placing high in local and national band competitions, all the while continuing to build their repertoire and work on new recordings. There’s a work ethic for you!

The Path Less Traveled is an interesting piece of work. On the surface, it is a Metal album, pure and simple! Kelly Quinn (bass) and Mike Signore (drums) build a strong foundation as a rhythm section, and then Matt VanDerMolen and Jared Robbins create the framework, layering guitar parts that are powerful, and at times, even beautiful. Finally, Joe Signore adds the final touches, with vocals that are full of emotion and power. He sounds a lot like James Hetfield, and I like that. He’s able to convey a lot of power, not because he’s growling like a Beast from Hell, but because he sings with everything he’s got! There are a lot of bands on the scene today that are able to construct a similar sound, but Torn manages to stand out from the crowd, because of their professionalism!

I think another reason that Torn stands out from the crowd is the lyrical content of their music. As I said, on the surface, Torn is one of many Metal bands; however, when you begin to look at the songs themselves, you realize that this band is not just about the music; they use the music as a vehicle, carrying a positive message to their listeners. Many songs have lyrics that are Christian in nature; others speak of righting social injustice, and living a life that isn’t wasted. Whatever the subject matter, we find a group of guys that are using their music to achieve something positive in society, and that can’t be a bad thing!

Standout tracks for me are the opening track, ‘If’, ‘Thoughts of Christ’, ‘Circles’, and ‘Your Day Will Come’. These songs are probably the most powerful songs on the album; they feature driving drum/bass tracks and hard-edged guitar work. They also feature a lot of interesting rhythm changes and rhythm patterns. Every song on the album is solid, but those mentioned are my favorite tracks. There are also several songs that use clean guitar sounds to begin the song, then transition into heavier rhythms. For some reason, that doesn’t work for me on this record. I don’t know if the formula has been overused in the genre or what, but I just wasn’t impressed with those songs as much. Torn is at its best as a band when the players come out of the gate full speed ahead!

The Path Less Traveled is a very commendable project from a solid Chicago Metal band! You’ll be hearing a lot more about these guys in the future, as they continue to roll forward! They are apparently working on a second album now, so we should be hearing new material from them sometime soon!

I would recommend this CD to all fans of Metal music. I believe that they have created the sound that they set out to find, and are making music that will please the very diverse tastes that today’s Metalheads possess. At the same time, they are also spreading a positive message that is very relevant to the situations we face in our world today, and may, in some cases, be making the world a better place to live in! Take that for what it’s worth, but as a reviewer, I am very impressed with the socially conscious approach that the band takes with its music! --Mark Lush,, 2/27/04

"Review from"

Chicago area Torn is a band that draws from a wide variety of metal and hard rock influences including grunge and nu-metal. Based on that statement alone, you might expect me to rip this one to shreds. Well…not so fast. Throw in some of their thrash, speed and power metal influences and "The Path Less Traveled," as it turns out, is a very well written, performed and produced debut CD.
While there's no denying a radio-metal likeness, mostly due to the vocals and some of the high distortion levels, Torn include an important element those bands don't - screaming guitar solos laid over some great, crunching, HEAVY rhythms. Vocalist Joe Signore's gritty delivery should sit well with fans of some of today's mainstream bands like Disturbed, and also reminds me at times of John Bush. More importantly, he really suits the HEAVY harmonies laid down by his bandmates.
Some of the lyrics, as you may have guessed from some of the titles, are Christian inspired. Don't be scared off though, Torn even uses that to their advantage by using alluring 'good vs. evil' plots. None are at all preachy, and songs like "Thoughts Of Christ" and "Child Lost" are very interesting, and very HEAVY. Plus they don't limit themselves and incorporate other issues like corrupt government and internal conflict into their storylines.
Every metal band would love to break into the mainstream. If Torn was able to get the right exposure, they could definitely become one of the few that actually do. They certainly have a sound that will appeal to several different audiences. And did I mention these guys are HEAVY!? Almost any open minded lover-of-good-rock 'n' roll should find something to enjoy down "The Path Less Traveled."

"Review at"

The old metal curmudgeon in me laments the rise of diet punk and emo bands in today’s youth culture. Somebody’s gotta grow their hair long, eat red meat and still have some balls, right? Thankfully bands like Torn restore my faith in the next generation. With a strict upbringing of old Metallica and testosterone, the kids can and will be alright.

Torn’s first release, 2003's The Path Less Traveled, falls on the harder end of the metal-hard rock continuum. Their harder offerings like "Circles", "Your Day Will Come" and "Better Day" are led by guitar hooks that could be confused with Kill ‘Em All leftovers. But lead guitarist Jared Robbins is no one-riff-wonder and the classical intros on "Child Lost" and "Now Is The Time" are dark and moving. Frontman Joe Signore has a big gruff voice that matches the power of the music well and he does a good job of speed rapping (is that a word? It is now!) a la the dude from Disturbed. Plus, whoever does the background vox does a surprisingly good job harmonizing with Signore on "Child Lost" and "Right, Wrong And In Between".

Torn’s got it all – good vocals, versatile strings and tight drum work. Their sound varies from full on metal to some radio-friendly power ballads, all featuring Christian lyrics (don’t be hardheaded and dismiss these guys based on album politics, they’re a far cry from the much maligned Creed). The Path Less Traveled will appeal to anybody who really really power metal with no synthesizers, sappy lyrics or apologies for being long haired, unshaven and hard.

Genre: Metal/Hard Rock
Released: 2003



The Path Less Traveled - 2003


Feeling a bit camera shy


Along the way, Torn has played many clubs throughtout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Torn has played with national acts like Mushroomhead (Universal), Dope (Sony), Twisted Method (Columbia), Brand New Sin (Bardic/Columbia) and Dust for Life (Wind_Up), appeared at MOBfest 2002, was awarded “Best Orginal Band” in Suburban Nitelife Magazines' Annual readers poll in March of 2002, and was selected as a finalist for Jim Beam's 2002 Rock Band search. Torn has also played multiple sold out shows at Clearwater Theater including their show on November 8th, 2003 for their CD release party and has made it to the semi-finals so far in the Emergenza Music Festival in Chicago this year.

With one album completed, and another on the way; Torn will be a force to be reckoned with on the Chicago music scene, and the entire nation, for years to come.