With their first full length LP since 2014’s ‘Heathen’, it’s safe to say that this is an album that carries high expectations.
This year has been a productive year for Thou, with three EP releases alone. So did they save the best for last?
‘Inward’ is a half successful opener.
Lasting ten minutes, it starts off well with an icy sounding guitar line, before plunging the listener into doom territory.
It sounds immense, especially the chugging chords and the vocals, which sound rather manic and atmospheric.
However, I’m not convinced that it needed to be ten minutes as there are very few turns in order to keep the listener paying attention so, around the seven minute mark, the song starts to blend into the background.
It’s a shame as, if it had been cut down to a five minute number, it would have been a feral way to open the album.
‘Transcending Dualities’ throws some noise rock/black metal riffing into the doom mix. At first, it sounds exciting but boredom quickly sits in and the track really goes nowhere.
‘The Changeling Prince’ is much better thanks to the melody underpinning the heaviness, and there’s a solid groove that gets going halfway through that gets the head nodding.
Ten minute epic ‘Sovereign Self’ has the potential to be an absolute monster of a song, and it almost makes it in terms of atmosphere (the clean guitar sound as the strings ring out at the beginning contrast so beautifully with the heaviness) but, once again, the interest starts to go around the 5 minute mark.
And that’s the story with the album.
Some pretty good songs (generally the shorter ones) verses ones that could be trimmed down by five minutes.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what the issue is with the longer songs, as there’s nothing wrong with what Thou are doing.
Repetition is a key requirement of doom in places after all.
The problem seems to be that the longer songs don’t have much to keep the listener interested and, on top of that, the production leans towards Pallbearer style doom in that it’s so clean you can see your face in it.
But, unlike Pallbearer, there is genuine heaviness on display. But perhaps not enough heaviness to carry the momentum forward.
Check out ‘The House Primordial’ EP they put out this year. That style of production on this record? A winner.
As it stands, a missed opportunity.
2 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 29/08/18