COLTRE – To Watch With Hands, To Touch With Eyes

COLTRE – To Watch With Hands, To Touch With Eyes
Dying Victims Productions
Released Year:
1. Feast of the Outcast2. To Watch With Hands3. Rat Race4. When The Earth Turns Black5. Friends Aren't Electric6. Through The Looking Glass7. Temptress8. Oblivion

The news of COLTRE’s first full-length release filled me with joy and expectation but the privilege to write a review about it made me absolutely delighted; and the mere pleasure of witnessing their astonishing return while listening repeatedly to the album, offered me a blissful day that otherwise would be just another Thursday in my life!

Since their “Under the Influence” EP, the Londoners became one of my favorite bands to spread to the world this kind of revived traditional heavy metal that many other groups chose to play too. However, I think you will agree with me that COLTRE made the difference. For start, they DIRECTLY brought to mind ANGEL WITCH and DIAMOND HEAD and that alone is a HUGE advantage – the spontaneous reminding of such iconic bands can be considered as an accomplishment in itself. Moreover, COLTRE managed to incorporate some beautifully nostalgic elements of earlier 70’s with UTTER success. Finally, they were capable to handily carry on the classy UK metal style that established the fundamentals of the genre and if there’s one US recognizable influence, that -in my humble opinion- is BLUE OYSTER CULT, which makes their deed even greater, doesn’t it?

So, no matter if COLTRE resemble various new groups of old-school heavy metal, AMULET, SEVEN SISTERS, NIGHT DEMON or DEADLY NIGHTS, to name a few that preceded them on both sides of the Atlantic, they still are a quite distinguishing band with its own identity.

The question could be if COLTRE have actually changed within these last four years and if there are significant differences between their EP and debut album?

Well, first of all, the trio became a quartet. Edoardo Mariotti (drums) joined forces with Daniel Sweed (guitars), Marco Stamigna (guitars and vocals) and Max Graves (bass) to complete the line-up of COLTRE’s EP. “Under the Influence” initially came out as four-track independent mini-album, a true do-it-yourself edition – its success caught the attention of Dying Victims, who re-released it including an additional track, the song “Fight”. Given that the collaboration with the same label remains and COLTRE decided to firmly maintain their style, To Watch With Hands, To Touch With Eyes” could be described as a natural continuation of the band’s first release – yet, taking everything to the next level!

That is, the band didn’t wander away from NWOBHM sound neither did they try cheap, used tricks to retain their style, yet they seem freer to improvise; the melody and the sullenness, the darkness and the vigor, the speed and the twistedness are all here but one can sense that COLTRE, instead of the dreaded sophomore slump, they have totally let themselves loose creatively. Their songwriting remains complex and lengthy but remains solid and any resemblance with other similar bands is now forever gone.

So, there are no unwelcome surprises in To Watch With Hands, To Touch With Eyes”, on the contrary, any distinctions add MORE artistic value to the album. COLTRE brought some SWEET hard rock attitude to their playing, keeping true to their EPICNESS, they may sound crunchier and sharper but they are still amazingly mellow and warm.

As mentioned by the band, “The album takes us on a journey through the dark realms of men and machines, where reality blurs and the outcasts rise!” The epitome of this concept is found in “Friends Aren’t Electric”, a GREAT song with obvious influence from THIN LIZZY – one of the highlights of the album. Opening track, “Feast of the Outcast” and “To Watch With Hands” that comes next, remind us of their brilliant compositions in “Under the Influence”. “Rat Race” is the first song to sound a little bit more rock ’n’ rolling than what the band used to play until now, “When the Earth Turns Black” is an AMAZING galloping anthem with some emotional classical guitar additions, while “Through the Looking Glass” is truly EPIC, exhibiting a wide range of musicianship by all band’s members – another outstanding song. “Tempress” is a fast-paced, wild track that hits us in full-force and closing title “Oblivion” is maybe the most distinguishing song of the album, lasting longer and being slower than any other in the tracklist, yet not tiresome at all; a MARVELLOUS piece of work with EXCELLENT development and unconventional ending.

Undoubtedly, COLTRE can rest assured that they came back with a really good work; a noteworthy album indeed!

Lastly, I’d like to give credits to Daniel Andersson for the EXCEPTIONAL artwork.

To Watch With Hands, To Touch With Eyes will be released on February 23rd by Dying Victims on regular and special vinyl edition and also CD.

Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.

You can pre order both CD and LP here.

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