Thou fucking destroy. Apologies for the very metal semantics but no other word can put it so succinctly. A peerless sludge/doom act, over the last five years Thou have rewritten the rulebook, standing as a final bastion against the stagnation of this elderly and cliché-riddled genre.
The filthy bottom-feeder guitars that everyone loves doom and sludge for are here in all their extreme down-tuned glory, yet the most compelling aspect of Thou is their unique and heartbreaking melodicism. A moving tune is something all too often absent in sludge circles, whose bands usually focus single-mindedly on a very ugly and misanthropic sound.
That isn’t to say Thou lack this quality, quite the contrary. The Louisianan quartet can move from delicate, emotive and almost ambient soundscapes to the most crushing doom riffs you could imagine within a single breath. And they do it with a masterful subtlety, leaving the listener wondering why they aren’t feeling more confused by this music. The quiet/loud dynamics may suggest comparisons with bands such as Isis or Cult of Luna, but honestly, I’m just glad these bands have shoved their heads up their asses with their ‘post-metal’ posturing. They probably wish they sounded like Thou, who, might I add, do the ‘atmospheric sludge’ shtick a whole lot better.
When Thou are finished caressing your eardrums with their quieter moments, the gargantuan guitar sound is sliced through by vocals that are undoubtedly well read in the works of EyeHateGod, dripping with a bestial and malevolent snarl. The only negative comments I’ve heard about Thou are a supposedly weak vocal performance, but I’m inclined to disagree. This vocal style has worked perfectly in sludge for years now, and I’m definitely a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ kind of guy in this respect.
I’ll leave you with Thou’s two full-lengths to date, debut Tyrant and follow-up Peasant. It makes sense seeing as the titles tie the releases together in a neat conceptual package. They don’t differ all that much in style but Thou are so talented and original in what they do, you won’t be giving a shit. A revamped and improved incarnation of the fantastic Grief for the the 21st century, support!
2. With a Cold, Life Extinguishing Elegance
3. Fucking Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean
4. I was Ignored, And Judged, And Cast Down
6. What Blood Still Flows From These Veins
1. The Work Ethic Myth
2. An Age Imprisoned
3. Belt Of Fire To Guide Me, Cloak Of Night To Hide Me
4. Burning Black Coals And Dark Memories
5. They Stretch Out Their Hands
6. The Road Of Many Names