Apparently, there is a deluge of chaos coming our way, a storm we didn’t previously predict to be happening but that is now too dangerously close to fight back against. Weirdly, this will be a collection of eruptions that will be a godsend to anyone who dines at the sludgier end of doom metal’s comprehensive serving table.
All that verbiage is a messy way of saying Thou are back, and we’re going to be getting a lot of content from the Baton Rogue-based band this year. First up is “The House Primordial,” released as a surprise earlier this week on Robotic Empire and that is a 10-track, 37-miniute piece that is one of the most corrosive and least digestible in the band’s catalog. Yes, some of the band’s muddy, driving doom is here within these cuts, but if you’re expecting anything conventional, even from Thou, you’re going to be shocked. This release, which the band describes as more of an EP in spirit, is absolutely coated in noise, so much so you can practically imagine these songs breaking into rusty shards are hitting the ground. Much of this collection is woven together, and the composition style is far different from what we’ve come to expect from Thou. That’s why this band—vocalist Bryan Funck, guitarists Andy Gibb and Matthew Thudium, bassist Mitch Wells, and drummer Josh Nee—always has been a menacing treasure to anyone who likes challenging heavy music. Each time out, they throw some different curves at you, but never as much as they do on “The House Primordial.” By the way, while this is a digital release right now, expect physical versions of this and their other 2018 material later this year.
“Wisdom” starts this grimy display with molten noise wafting, drone hanging over like a swarm of wasps, and guitars scraping and drawing sparks, pushing into “Premonition,” where Funck’s growls sound basement black metal filthy and terrifying, though the music simmers with fury. Sharp edges poke under the surface, creating a corrosive ball of hell that leads into “The Sword Without a Hilt” that lets cold guitars drizzle and cool off the surface. Noise picks up intensely like an agitated furnace, and that starts to melt the guitar work that flows dangerously into “Diaphanous Shift” and its nasty vocals and riffs quivering in doom. The track is cavernous and just about as close to “classic Thou” as you’re going to get on this EP, as growls devastate, and the guitars twist into panicked static. “Corruption and Moral” is an eerie, space fuzz-filled, electronic fit of madness over 1:23 that’ll split your mind in two.
“Psychic Dominance” emerges out of that, with burly, slow-driving riffs doing ample damage, and terrifying growls reminding of Fortress Crookedjaw at his most unhinged. The path hits the mud, as chaos smothers and burns out everything. “Prideful Dementia and Impulsive Mayhem” is a fucking noise bath, with paint practically being peeled from your walls, drone liquifying, and the instrumental cut boiling in hell. “Occulting Light” has drums striking forcefully, as noise boils, and the pace takes its lumbering time. The vocals scorch while the guitars chug and brutalize, and the massive wall of feedback finally succumbs to a haze of angelic keys. “Birthright” is bled into, as alien interference sends jolts, the drums crack veins, and a fog of chaos spreads over the scene. Toward the end, the guitars wake, and signals blast into closer “Malignant Horror” that blisters and maims. Funck’s growls spit fire as a mournful tone overwhelms, and pure anguish causes bloody scarring. The band drubs slowly, yet relentlessly, making its final charge a blunt one, and it ends in a sizzling puddle of noise.
Who knows how much Thou have in store for us this year (the “Magus” full-length is in the pipeline, as well as other EP releases), but starting that assault off with “The House Primordial” has to keep their listeners off balance. It’s not an easy listen, it does demand you expand your expectations, and it soaks you in battery acid. This definitely isn’t for everyone, but those who embrace it are bound to lather themselves in the metallic lava.
For more on the band, go here: http://noladiy.org/thou/
To buy the album, go here: https://roboticempire.bandcamp.com/album/thou-the-house-primordial
For more on the label, go here: http://www.roboticempire.com/