Review Summary: this very moment.
Melody is nothing without meaning. Just like hope is nothing without despair. Just like ire is nothing without placidity. For each push there needs to be that pull. Thou know this. Heathen
embodies this. All too often, in music, in stories, there’s the excess of just one
feeling, but how can we feel the sadness if we had never known the happiness" How can we feel the anger if we didn’t know the pain" Because melody is nothing without meaning, it needs to be given meaning; there’s no way of feeling the intensity of it if we can’t feel what it’s rivalling. For each passing sludge album that’s relentless in its pummelling aggression, there’s the vacant and empty melodies that sing from each post-metal record, failing to engage or impact. Because each one pushes, but neither of them pull. Neither of them evoke what their anger or beauty are born from. Thou remain at the top of food chain because they understand the basics of dynamic possibility: that neither feeling is the same without its counterpart. The greatest result of their dynamic is Heathen
aches in every inch of it with pain and density, it’s tense and flowing; from the gorgeously crafted melodic passages grow the most gratifyingly heavy excisions of sludging, drudging chemistry. It’s easy to see how tracks like ‘At the Foot of Mount Drisskill’ or ‘Ode to Physical Pain’ wouldn’t be nearly as effectual as a sludge monstrosities without the overwhelmingly stunning lead guitar melodies that rise in and out of their heaviest moments. That’s not to say that the heavy passages are worthless on their own (quite the contrary), but that when such unexpectedly strong and evocative moments are directly juxtaposed, it makes for a much more intense experience. Thou are showing that light and dark don’t need to be kept apart; for one section to be solely melodic and one to be solely crushing darkness. The effectualness of both elements are expanded tenfold when layered directly over each other, when one expands and the other wanes, then again, they coalesce like they always should. Like we always want them to.
is an album of unimaginable proportions. In the unrefined clarity of their peers, they stand alone, with the beauty of their mess; their unmistakeable, aching majesty, unafraid of complications of raw emotion, power and the subtle and unsubtle contrasts in their music. Heathen
is the aural exploration of chiaroscuro, the willingness of the partnership of the differences that make up every waking moment.