Thou
Heathen


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex Newton USER (43 Reviews)
April 2nd, 2014 | 390 replies | 15,610 views


Release Date: 03/25/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Join our sad tears and dance on the blackened bones of gods.

14 of 14 thought this review was well written

Of all the extreme metal beasts wandering the musical underworld, black metal and doom metal are among the most fearsome and strange. From the darkest depths of the human psyche these creatures arose, boring their way towards the light from frostbitten forests and sweltering swamps. The latter gave us early doom mavens Exhorder and Eyehategod, but somewhere down the line Louisiana birthed some truly terrifying monsters like Thou. A quintet specializing in music designed to break souls, Thou has tempered its blackened doom for nine years through three albums and a menagerie of EPs and splits. At the core of Thou’s ideology is a distaste for societal constructs; an abhorrence of the artificial paradigms ruling our world. Heathen, then, is both a logical continuation – and the boldest chapter yet – of that treatise on humanity’s true face.

Despite the band’s black metal label, Thou spends most of Heathen in a grisly mire between doom and post-metal, a landscape dominated by the kills of Rorcal and early Neurosis. Opener “Free Will” makes Thou’s mission abundantly clear: tearing down its audience’s psychological walls, notion by notion and thought by thought. The track churns and swirls for over fourteen tortuous minutes, its grimy guitar arrangements growing increasingly monolithic until its life finally slips away. Toward the end of a rather long exposition, things begin to sound almost hopeful until vocalist Bryan Funck arrives to restore order, his mid-range rasp cutting through the din just enough to be deciphered by the trained ear. What Funck lacks in range he makes up for in ferocity and tone, as his vocals are highly consistent in timbre and distortion throughout Heathen – think Ihsahn tuned down a fifth.

If you haven’t yet been scared off by the time “Free Will” utters its dying breath, subsequent interlude “Dawn” offers some insight into Thou’s modus operandi. In stark contrast to the charred dirge constituting most of Heathen, the album’s three interlude pieces – “Dawn,” “Clarity,” and “Take Off Your Skin and Dance in Your Bones” – consist solely of eerie clean/acoustic guitar. Beyond these, Thou includes several passages that could hardly be identified as metal of any kind if not for their gradual transition towards the outfit’s trademark sound. “Feral Faun” exhibits perhaps the album’s purest evolution as it grows steadily from ambient drones into pounding power-chord riffs, taking a page straight out of the Isis playbook. Later on, “Immorality Dictates” simmers uneasily for half its ten-minute lifespan as female vocals intone, “And you know that I love you / Here and now, not forever / I can give you the present / I don't know about the future,” in one of the most unsettlingly relatable codas in recent memory.

This is not to imply that Thou sacrifices any bit of its suffocating power; rather, Heathen’s ethereal forays serve to amplify its emotional spectrum immensely. Consider for a moment what Two Hunters would sound like without Jessica Kinney, or Still Life without “Face of Melinda.” Even the sheer magnitude of Heathen, which clocks in at a staggering 75 minutes, supports the notion that Thou is merely elaborating upon that which made its previous efforts so successful. If its predecessor Summit was a capstone to Thou’s efforts to that point, then Heathen shows the band beginning a new chapter on the foundation of a honed artistic identity and growing fan base. While longtime disciples will undoubtedly be pleased, those new to Thou’s brand of extreme metal will find Heathen to have uncommon replay appeal for its niche. Not only is that a tremendous compliment to the band, but it is a testament to Thou’s ability to craft music challenging enough for hardened metal fans while leaving the door open for the heathen masses yet to be converted.



Recent reviews by this author
Echoes of Eon ImmensityThe Great Old Ones Tekeli-Li
Gamma Ray Empire of the UndeadSoreption Engineering The Void
Cynic Kindly Bent to Free UsSunn O))) and Ulver Terrestrials
user ratings (144)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
pedro70512
April 2nd 2014



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First posted on MuzikDizcovery.com

"Free Will" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPGhVNYAO48

Graveyard
April 2nd 2014



5696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also a free download on their bandcamp page: https://thou.bandcamp.com/album/heathen

Album is fucking killer. Their best work to date.

Digging: Total Control - Typical System

climactic
April 2nd 2014



18667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes yes yes

tempest--
April 2nd 2014



13150 Comments


finally this has a review, hell yea

album is fucking metal m/

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

DominionMM1
April 2nd 2014



9786 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

was expecting a review much sooner. just goes to show sput can't sludge.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - In The Beginning

PunchforPunch
April 2nd 2014



6208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gr8 rev mang dis shit is fvkin massive

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album is hass nuff said

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

Slut
April 2nd 2014



2461 Comments


I want to listen to this so bad


Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I said nuff said

pedro70512
April 2nd 2014



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nope. There's plenty more to say with an album this badassfully awesome.

climactic
April 2nd 2014



18667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

WEEEE AREEEEE

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Pos'd cuz Helio rec

pedro70512
April 2nd 2014



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No complaints here. Might just have to jam this and that one back to back for ultimate spirit-crushing experience. And then Alaskan for good measure.

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Or pull a neurosis times of grace and overlap them tbh

pedro70512
April 2nd 2014



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haven't heard Times of Grace, actually. I've yet to be grabbed by either Through Silver or Eye of Every Storm.

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

reported

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

not even eye of every storm tho?

pedro70512
April 2nd 2014



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haven't given it the time it deserves yet, but I know you wouldn't lead me astray Captain.

DominionMM1
April 2nd 2014



9786 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm afraid there's no nope for you my friend

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2014



28812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

tbh?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy