Thou
Oakland


4.5
superb

Review

by Arche USER (86 Reviews)
April 29th, 2017 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thou at their most fetid.

Thou have, throughout their career, cemented their position as one of the most forward-thinking, interesting bands within the sludge sphere this side of the millennium. As far back as their first LP Tyrant, they’ve shown themselves to be unafraid of implementing elements atypical of sludge – primarily, post-rock and slide blues – and to do so with almost enviable aplomb. Oakland, however, draws attention to an era where their penchant for compositional niceties reached its nadir. Largely eschewing the melodies and sparser feel of Tyrant, Thou’s 2008-2010 was a time of wrist-thick riffs, scuzzy guitars (naturally, screaming with feedback), a whole lot of bile and really, not a huge amount else. Glorious.

Opening with the two-track EP Malfeasance/Retribution sets Oakland’s tone quite nicely. Bryan Funck sounds as though he gargled battery acid beforehand, the idiosyncratic conjunction of his politicised, nigh-on poetic lyrics and rotten delivery sounding particularly unpleasant against the EP’s imposing wall of bass. Malfeasance/Retribution is a 16-minute war machine of riff after bludgeoning riff, its only reprieve coming from a single minute in (the spectacularly titled) ‘The Genitals of Every Rapist Hang Bleeding from These Trees’; not a pleasant one either, taking the form of a plodding bass line laced with bombing cries, like diving Stuka. Their contribution to We Pass Like Light, From Land to Land (a split with Salem, OR’s Leech) proffers some aural respite, particularly bookends ‘Unmasked’ (a bleak acoustic number) and the haunting ‘The Defeatist’s Lament’; ‘Here I Stand, Head in Hand’ threatens to as well, but between its bizarre watery swells lies some staggeringly impassioned shrieks and one of the compilation’s most enduring riffs. ‘Smoke Pigs’ and ‘Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos’ (from splits with Black September and Haarp respectively) contrast Thou at their most energetic and doom-laden, and while the unflinching hum of ‘Baton Rouge, Louisiana’ is an odd choice from Baton Rouge, You Have Much to Answer For, its total lack of melody is perhaps fitting to close a vignette of what is arguably Thou’s filthiest hour.

Oakland’s content is a little more homogeneous than their other releases, granted, but the almost never-ending barrage of riffs, Funck’s vitriolic rasps and muddy guitar tones make the compilation Thou’s most out-and-out fun material to listen to. It triggers that part of the brain that likes hitting things with hammers. The part of your brain that involuntarily contorts into a grimace when you hear something almost ridiculously heavily. Basically, it’s about that riff at 5:20 in ‘Their Hooves Carve Craters in The Earth’. Go out. Listen to this. Headbang in public walking down the road. Heathen will still be waiting for you when you get home.



Recent reviews by this author
Asthma Castle Mount CrushmoreSnail's House Snö
The Body O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, Judge ofJohn Prine John Prine
Morrissey Low In High SchoolIDYLLS The Barn
user ratings (39)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
April 28th 2017


5651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

In case it's not totally apparent, I take a huge amount of enjoyment from this compilation, and I really wanna talk about 'Their Hooves Carve Craters in the Earth.' Check it out -> https://thou.bandcamp.com/album/oakland

As always, any comments, suggestions and whathaveyou welcomed :]

Relinquished
April 28th 2017


39631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet, bout time a comp got good-review'd



the track baton rouge is no doubt one of my faves off this

Archelirion
April 28th 2017


5651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers man, I'm gonna try and get Algiers and Rendon done at some point too.

Baton Rouge is possibly the only one I'm not 100% on, but it's a suitable closer for the comp I feel

Relinquished
April 28th 2017


39631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i 100% dig it. there is melody there in the molasses-slow riff-fest. that's where they do their love for sunn and earth justice, and the sample is so Thou.

dreamgauze
April 28th 2017


910 Comments


Awesome write-up!

Is Heathen a good album to begin checking this band's discog? I've been interested in giving that a spin.

Relinquished
April 28th 2017


39631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yessir

dreamgauze
April 28th 2017


910 Comments


I've only listened to entry level thrash metal and some niche stuff like Deafheaven and Sunn, Earth, Boris (entry-level drone, ig) so I'm trying to explore other subgenres and jumping around. Free Will is remarkable.

Relinquished
April 28th 2017


39631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea you'll dig the rest of their material in that case

Archelirion
April 28th 2017


5651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sludge is such a wonderful genre, so hopefully you get the bug for it

Free Will's amazing, yeah. Wait till you hit the closer :]

dreamgauze
April 28th 2017


910 Comments


Hope Heathen keeps getting thicker and darker like what've I'm hearing thus far. Feral Faun is a mammoth.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2017


2977 Comments


I take great joy in seeing bands who relegate experimentation to EPs. These guys haven't released a single comp or LP I don't thoroughly enjoy. And even then, a good deal of the EPs are still a fun time. Fantastic review man, looking forward to seeing your thoughts on Algiers and Rendon.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2017


11683 Comments


Great review man, might give this a whirl as it's been a while since I've jammed any Thou, or doom at all for that matter.

Archelirion
April 29th 2017


5651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys! I'll probably do Algiers next as I'm more familiar with that one, but I'm looking forward to writing them. Agreed about the experimentation thing, it's better than doing it on an LP which you sometimes want to be a little more of a cohesive unit, you know? Have you heard their collaboration with The Body they did a couple of years back?

You should totally do that ^ ^

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2017


11683 Comments


Damn this is really good stuff

Archelirion
April 29th 2017


5651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hell yeah, that dig

Which was your favourite?

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2017


11683 Comments


Gotta say it was "Their Hooves Carve Craters in the Earth" honestly. Though track 2 has the most metal song title.

Archelirion
April 29th 2017


5651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, that's my favourite as well. It's just so satisfyingly horrible :D

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2017


2977 Comments


that song has one of the best live videos ever attached to it. the venue and audience do not match the music at all and i love it.
https://youtu.be/pw5eRC9PRq4

evilford
April 29th 2017


42094 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude a rev for this? you're the man

Archelirion
April 29th 2017


5651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I laugh, but I know full well that, appearance and everything, if I ever got to see Thou I'd look like those two at the front. Looked like a great gig!



@ford Cheers my dude!



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





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 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy