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Thou- Summit - 89%

FleshMonolith, October 9th, 2010

In the 2 or so month wake of Thou's latest full length, Summit, I think I've finally arrived at an opinion. I'll shelf my personal recollection of Thou's back catalog and get right to it.

It comes to me as a paradox as the album is coherent and well constructed, yet incomplete and long.

The album itself doesn't offer amateurish leaps from mood to mood, or anything too avant-garde and misplaced, rather it's something I don't know how to really approach or pin-point. To play it safe, I'd say it feels as Thou are holding back with this release. One track shines, and another doesn't really do anything for me. "By Endurance We Conquer," "Prometheus," and "Another World Is Inevitable" are shining examples of Thou at their best. Maybe moreso than before, Thou showcases detailed, complicated, and moving songwriting as each of these three bleed sludgy sophistication. But on the other hand, I tend to skip "Grissecon" every time i spin the cd, as well as "Summit Revisited" and "Voices In The Wilderness." This is a real shame as that makes up for 2/5 of the album.

The first track, "By Endurance We Conquer" is a winner, although I kind of dislike the synth or whatever effect that is around the end. This song, and the one after, I think sum up my view on the album perfectly. Starting off and being great throughout, "By Endurance We Conquer" closes like some pre-war ritual; a preamble if you will. Unfortunately "Grissecon" loses the vibe and just widdles around for 8 minutes. There's many different things in the song, but nothing that really grabs me; call me spoiled.


Whatever complaints aside, the album is about the 4th track and the 4th track alone. "Another World Is Inevitable" is a typical Thou styled lesson in tension, climax, melody and emotion. Just 2 seconds over 10 minutes, "Another World Is Inevitable" works it's way through heaves of tar and viscous fluid until finally erupting around the 7 minute mark as constant bass drum beats merge into the measure like troops ranking into a final formation. The outcome is uplifting, trance inducing and awe-inspiring as Bryan screeches "A new world springs from the corpse of the old," and eventually "This will be the day." With the shift towards more dynamic and sprawling composure, the lyrics seem to match as they're optimistic and more demanding (fortunately, lyrics are a strong point of Thou and always have been;so this isn't such a stretch). Needless to say, I end up playing this track a lot.

When the muck boils away what's left is that I'm not thoroughly satisfied with this album.
This isn't as good as Tyrant, I don't know if anything could be. It's similar to Peasant as there are stellar songs but also some that are less. Where Peasant had "Work Ethic Myth," "Burning Black Coals And Dark Memories," and "They Stretch Out Their Hands;" Summit has its three as stated earlier.

Without question it's worth a purchase (as is everything this band seems to touch). That being said, Thou is dynamic enough, heartfelt enough, and invigorating enough to be the only band that matters now, and even though Summit has it's rough edges, there's plenty of strong footing.

Originally written for http://chainsawjustice.blogspot.com/

-F

Waves Come Crashing Down - 100%

Dying_Funeral, September 23rd, 2010

Thou have been releasing material constantly. They are one of the hardest working bands I know of. Constantly making splits, eps and playing hundreds of shows. Any praise they receive they wholly deserve it. They’ve worked extremely hard to get the amount of fans that they do now.

Their third album “Summit” is an album that marks new doors being opened for Thou. They explore different sounds and genres that they have tinkered with a bit in previous releases. On this album though they bring it all together to make an excellent, bludgeoning doom driven sound that will make you come back for more. Some changes in the music you will notice are the black metal influence on some songs. The drumming mainly is very black metal influenced and sounds great. It makes the music more interesting than most other doom metal bands, which don’t do a whole lot with their drumming. The first song on the album “By Endurance We Conquer” is a prime example. It starts out slow and gloomy, and then picks up with fast drumming from Josh Nee. A few seconds in comes in the vocals which are different on this album from most of their material. The vocals sound muddier and more black metal sounding. On their first album you could really hear the hardcore influence on his vocals. This has disappeared on this album though. These are black metal screeches and growls. The music on this album is much slower and drawn out than any other album/ep/split of theirs. This by no means is a bad thing, but rather an excellent thing. You get to witness much more of their musical prowess. The guitar tone is sludgy and muddy sounding. The guitars are probably the best thing on the album and hardest to describe. They sound like a combination of black metal, sludge metal, doom metal, drone, indie and shoegaze. It’s wonderful. I enjoy ever second of each song. Another new element to Thou is the song “Summit Revisited” which has horns playing. It’s an instrumental (the only one) this song is very moody and atmospheric. “By Endurance We Conquer” also has some horns playing in parts of it. The horns add a whole new element to the music, pushing the atmosphere further.

All in all this album is a must get. If you love shoegaze, indie, doom, drone, sludge or sloooow metal you will love this album.