"Addiction of Fools" (Sugar Shack Records; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Addiction of Fools" is quite an improvement over the band's previous CD, "Binge & Purge." The songwriting is somewhat more complex, the production value is definitely higher, and both lead vocalist Bryan Erickson and guitarist Michael James Torok have advanced in their skills considerably since 2001.

Erickson pushes his vocal talents to the limit here, sounding like a cross between Twisted Sister's Dee Snider and Grim Reaper's Steve Grimmet. Without ever resorting to a modern rock growl, Erickson adds roughness where it's needed and a sheer clean sound (a la Whitesnake's David Coverdale) when necessary. 

The fretwork by Michael James Torok has improved as well, and "Addiction of Fools" feature some killer lead guitar work. Thankfully, Torok also knows when to back down and just trust the big chunky chords to do their job, too. "Addiction of Fools" has some great crunch to it. 

In addition, "Addiction of Fools" doesn't lean so heavily on the cliches as "Binge & Purge" did and, hence, has a sound that is more so its own.

Sadly, the title track is the weak spot here, being a well-intended but clunky and somewhat cheesy ballad that brings the CD to a near halt. Erickson's vocal work saves the day, however and, being only track 4 out of 10, there are plenty of chances for the band to redeem themselves afterward. And they do.

There's no guitarsaw rating between three stars and three-and-a-half but, if there was, "Addiction of Fools" would get it (three and a quarter, maybe?). I think this CD is considerably better album than "Binge & Purge" for the reasons listed above and I believe most fans of the band's earlier albums would agree.

Torok: Bryan Erickson - vocals; Michael James Torok - guitar; Tim Davis - drums; Bill Holmberg - bass; John Jankowski - keys. 

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"Binge & Purge" (Nightmare Records; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Torok have a traditional rock'n'roll sound that is basically what we used to call "heavy metal" in the 80s but what you'd probably refer to as "hard rock" today. They have a sound that's been described as a cross between KISS and Skid Row and that's pretty accurate. They have the simple, live-in-the-studio sound of early KISS with the bluesy tint of Skid Row. Fans of either of those bands will find something to like with Torok.

With its simple, guitar driven tunes and extremely raw production (which works here rather brilliantly) Torok mine ancient hard rock territory and come away with surprisingly successful results. The band, combined of former members of Impaler, Equinox and Sublevel, shamelessly look back on an era when "metal" bands the likes of Ratt, Thin Lizzy and Ozzy were riding high atop the pop charts. If that type of music appeals to your rough edged ears, then you'll find Torok irresistable.

Torok: Michael Torok - guitars; Eric Althaus - drums; Aaron Davis - bass; Bryan Erickson - vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 14:16:29 -0400.