Thine | ‘The Dead City Blueprint’
Album Of The Month April 2014
It opens softly. Just a piano, as if in another room, and a murmur.
Then in it comes in. The riff that could have – should have – begun the album after Anathema’s ‘Judgement’.
A beautiful, rocking jangle straight from Anathema’s playbook though most certainly also from fellow Yorkshiremen Thine’s too.
Because they didn’t arrive here yesterday. In fact, their excellent last album, ‘In Therapy’ (here) got an album of the month here waaaaaaaay back in 2002.
Older readers will remember they played the fabled Peacefest with the likes of Beyond Dawn and My Dying Bride.
So it’s been a whopping 12 years in the making, this one – and boy is it worth it. It couldn’t be a better follow up.
Their formula is as it was. Mournful, grown up metal with a ton of passion and superb songwriting skills, harking back to that crucial junction at which many metallers were just about to move on to other things.
That’s why I reference ‘Judgement’ above: it’s still metal, yet almost departing.
So while ‘Flame To The Oak’ is most certainly a mature ballad, there is just enough suggestion of Opeth and Agalloch to keep it firmly rooted in metal’s modes.
They’ve referenced a link to Katatonia a bit, but I think that’s merely stylistic. They may not have the same weight as the Swedes, but frankly they’re writing more interesting music at this point in time.
This album is a glory for singer Alan Gaunt. It’s as though he’s been listening to and absorbing Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis, and now has that same melancholy chalkiness.
‘Out Of Your Mind’ could, rightly, be off Anathema’s ‘Natural Disaster’ it’s that good – quite the compliment – and that’s not only a sonic comparison. It’s up there in the heartstrings pulling department.
As could ‘The Precipice’ in fairness, which references Anathema’s late work. It’s probably the best track on the album with its driving beat and soaring through the clouds feeling. It is sublime.
All this talk however of other bands, while true, does disservice to the quality of songwriting that Thine now boast (or always did boast).
This is a sumptuous album to listen to. A laster. One for the years.
For metallers whose necks are now a bit sore to banging, and who don’t have hair left to bang anyway, it offers everything. Heaviness, emotion, power, intimacy, and the little pangs of reality that are relevant to the lives we all lead.
‘The Precipice’ for example with it’s beautiful lyric
‘though time no longer heals us / it can make things better / between us”
must surely speak to us all, a bit.
I cant quite credit this album enough. It has what Anathema made their name with. Vulnerability. Their soft emotional underbellies are on show through this album, and they sing it with passion and total conviction.
There are precious few metal bands that do that.
So I’ll not do the typical thing here and trot out tracks by tracks. There’s no need.
Not when an album such as this is so well written, recorded, played and crafted by men who have a deep reservoir of talent and love for what they do, and the balls to get up and show it.
Your collection is simply incomplete without this beautiful gem of a time both current and past. If you buy only one compact disc this year, make it this one.
It comes from that magical place where great, fragile metal was getting made.
Go back there. Let them take you.
5/5 – Earl Grey ::: 09/04/14