Review Summary: Aided by a ‘crusty’ production Thou have released a commendable effort in the face of an ever changing metal scene.
Many ‘elitists’ will see Thou as a “dream come true”. The sound is raw and uncompromising. From guitar to vocal lines, listeners will enjoy track after track of some gripping sludge infested metal with a production to match the foreboding music that has been created. This will not be the heaviest album of all time, and is in no way what is being attempted by the now veterans. For listeners this album should simply be taken as is and not what it could be.
As far as the music goes Thou have done what a lot of other metal bands are incapable of. That is they know when to tone it down and bring it back a notch. There is balance that affirms the quality of music and maintains the listeners’ interest. This balance can also be noticed in the music behind the turmoil of screeched vocal lines and also in the lyrical themes. Themes of war, politics, grief and anger are all prominent here but are not added mindlessly adding to the depth of the album and matching with its dark themes. Pounding riffs are in high supply throughout the length of the album but are also swapped with some interesting leads and melodic phrases that break the pattern nicely without sounding over done or out of place. The title track is an excellent example of what the album as a whole. The track itself is diverse and unpredictable, mixing heavy with intensity, light with dark, and melody intertwined appropriately. Thou do not simply create an album without thought and their music is better appreciated when listened to with thought. Many will know that the doom/sludge genre is not for those without patience.
Another highlight of Tyrant includes ‘With a Cold, Life Extinguishing Elegance’. On an album where balance is important there is a certain atmosphere created, one that will either benefit the end product or lose some of the initial effect created by other tracks. Here the first option is ultimately achieved. Crunching dissonant guitar tones that are layered underneath a dark melodic lead help reinforce the dark themes and the bands raw sound. This is even before the obvious element of the screeched, and occasionally growled vocal phasing that literally put the icing on the cake. When all of this is combined, the atmospheric values of the album really stand out.
Ultimately it’s the listener that benefits from Thou’s writing style. It is well thought about, contains both the ‘heavy’ and ‘melodic’ that most metal heads look for. Most importantly ‘Tyrant’ has a balance level that rivals many others. The atmosphere that is shown here helped by the overall production and its raw sound gives benefit to the dark themes being presented to the listener and manages to represent a genre almost perfectly. Tyrant should be on many metal fans playlists and rightly so. Aside from a few simplistic dragging moments there is not too much to be disappointed with.