Thalamus
Soul


3.9
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
March 3rd, 2013 | 32 replies


Release Date: 02/25/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Vintage hard rock at its most personal and thoughtful.

Hailing from Sweden, Thalamus are among the most notable purveyors of vintage hard rock. The band excels in bringing back the spirit of the 1970s with its retro sound centered around permeating groove, soaring vocals and a prominent use of Hammond organ. Such a stylish brand of heavy rock happens to be vastly popular in the band's homeland where their previous album Subterfuge debuted in the top 6 of national charts on the grounds of such excellent singles as “Blind” and “Still Dancing On My Grave.” Expectedly so, the act's third full-length, produced together with Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah, Evergrey), can be seen as a direct continuation of their old-school style sporting just enough hooks to be commercially viable.

Thalamus are genuinely committed to their craft though, and Soul is an ample evidence of that. The album's title signifies a distinctly heartfelt approach to lyrics. While tackling plenty of subjects ranging from death and depression to vivacity and love, Kjell Bargendahl strikes a perfect balance between his personal experiences and the hard rock canon. After all, it is his supreme sense of melody that, along with thoughtful lyrics, largely makes this record so retrospective and soulful. He also has the pipes to carry an amazing chorus of the title track, yet never falls into a 'show-off' mode at the expense of song craft. The subdued lament of “Marooned In Space” may be the most emotionally wrenching tune on the entire disc.

Since all songwriting duties have been collectively carried out by the whole quintet this time around, Soul sounds even more refined than the group's previous releases. Their presentation is still reasonably diverse though. Such bouncy heavy rockers as “Caveman's Crib” and “In My Hour Of Dying” are juxtaposed with bluesy slow-burners in “The House Is Going Down In Fire” and “Just Like Robert Johnson.” There's still some room for pleasant surprises, like sublime progressive rock leanings of “Eleven Maids,” the jazzy guitar solo in “Whenever I Fall” or muddled backing vocals that propel “Follow The White Rabbit” to refreshing effect. Despite all these elements, the album still feels overly homogenous at points simply because several passages and motifs overstay their welcome. One cannot escape the feeling that certain songs would work better if they were more concise and focused. The closer "Where The Roses Never Fade" is especially at fault.

Soul may not be perfect by any means, but its shortcomings paradoxically make for a large part of its charm. Although this record might be deemed as naive and cheesy by some, Thalamus play the style of music they are passionate about clearly aiming at listeners who share their sentiment. The fact that they deliver their melodic brand of vintage rock with both finesse and poignancy only enhances their chances of reaching a much wider audience.




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user ratings (6)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Caveman's Crib:
http://www.rocknytt.net/streaming/9032-exklusivt-ny-lat-fran-thalamus-the-cavemans-crib

This House Is Going Down In Fire:
http://soundcloud.com/transubstans-records/thalamus-this-house-is-going

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

chambered99
March 2nd 2013


802 Comments


give me a breakj

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


3450 Comments


this looks right down my alley. i'll check it out, nice review

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Thanks bro. This will turn out to be great if you give it enough time.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


3450 Comments


One thing I do notice about the review, though, is that the first sentence isn't a great way to lead into the review. It's not a bad sentence, but it also doesn't feel like the staff-quality intro to a review I've come to expect from you. I mean, I see two major things wrong with it - "Hailing from Sweden" is a terrible "hook" to get people to start reading (no offense), and saying something like "Thalamus are among the most notable purveyors of vintage hard rock." brings up questions you don't want to bring up at the beginning of a review (compared to whom? what makes them so good?). I won't try to say that my openings are typically better, but I feel like you could come up with a better one. Just my two cents.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I can't agree with you on that. It's a decent way to start a short review and it makes for a good topic sentence for the 1st para imo. Besides, I definitely answer the question "what makes them so good?" with the 2nd sentence.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


3450 Comments


I know what you mean, and I think it's fair to ask "what makes them so good?" I just don't think the first sentence is a good place to do that. Like, as a comparison point, the way you open your recent Riverside review is so much better than this. The review in general is fantastic, don't get me wrong. Plus, I don't want you to take my thoughts the wrong way - I'm not attacking you as a writer (I think you're one of the best and most consistent writers on the site, and your promotion was well-deserved). I just think that you could do better than start a review with "Hailing from Sweden." That's the part that gets me, I think. I'm fine with the rest of the sentence, now that I think about it, but I don't think it's a particularly good idea to start with those three words.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


23826 Comments


you guys give chambered a breakj

knew this would be you from the summary dude haha. good review though, won't jam m/

foxblood
March 3rd 2013


6797 Comments


is there a galaxy coming out of his chest

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


10204 Comments


Brostep's next review:

Hailing from Sweden, Skrillex knew what the peasants wanted.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


10204 Comments


I could have done way better than that but i'm tired as hell so gimme a break!

toxin.
March 3rd 2013


12430 Comments


how curious that your 3.8 gets rounded down on the bar graph instead of rounded to the nearest 0.5
anyways good review but won't check this out most likely

rotterdog
March 3rd 2013


488 Comments


Good review, I'll have to check this out. On an irrelevant side note: I haven't visited this site in months and the ads have gotten horribly intrusive.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Thanks guys. The tracks I recommend checking out first:
Soul
Just Like Robert Johnson
Marooned In Space
Eleven Maids
Follow the White Rabbit (yes... this one's really cool)
Whenever I Fall

@foxblood:
It seems so. The cover art for their previous album was much better imo.


greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

@TheBrostepGuy:
No offence taken. I'm all for constructive criticism. As for 'hailing from Sweden' part, you're
right it's an attention grabbing phrase. Well. It'd get me interested at least given I'm a huge fan of
anything Swedish. It's a fairly informal way of starting a review, but this was sort of the point
here. Besides, I tend to use the phrase 'Sweden-based' too often. I need to check out my Riverside
write-up now. I totally don't remember how I started it.

Edit: Ah yes. Here I could've kicked off with the title and its implications as well. For some
reason, I chose a more traditional way.


Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


8357 Comments


Of course this was going to be a Greg Fisher review haha. Good read, though.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Yeah. It seems I have the most identifiable taste of all staffers now. Everybody's probably thinking:
WTF Staff are reviewing hard rock???

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


10204 Comments


You stick to the hard rock, and I'll stick with progressive metal. ;D

I'm actually starting to listen to more death metal and black metal now. There's some really cool stuff out there.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I sometimes review prog metal as well, but I've never really been into death and black metal, only blackened sludge.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013


3402 Comments


I've heard of these guys, but didn't know they had a new record coming out. I'll get this now. Great review as always man.

Digging: The Asteroid No. 4 - The Asteroid 4



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