Thūn - II

01 Jul 2022 - Knut

Doom Metal/Heavy Metal | Eat Lead and Die Music | Release date: 01 Jul 2022

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Looming on the horizon is a foreboding Lovecraftian apparition who is ready to take on the natural world´s enemies with an unknown ferocity. It will probably be one of The Great Ones, might be Cthulhu, Amon-Gorloth or Atlach-Nacha. The band Thūn is back with the second volume of dystopian doom metal one year after the first chapter. And the music has grown heavier and angrier with an eleventh-hour-feel looming over the heavy sonics with lyrics like “It is an insult to the heritage of thought, delimitation of information, follow belief without evidence.”

The creative mind behind the music collective and the concept of these albums is Jon Higgs of Monsterworks and Bull Elephant. His heavy doom-ladden riffs lay the foundation for the Lovecraftian dread and he has a vocal range that is quite astounding. He growls, he snarls, sings clean and goes down to the guttural lows. He is joined by the versatile bassist from Monsterworks, Hugo Wilkinson, the drummer James Knoerl (Gargoyle, among others) who seems able to play any music style put to him and on the lead guitar which snakes in and out of the music at high and low speed is Karl Sanders from Nile.

You do not have to be a folk singer with a guitar to write and sing protest songs and songs of awareness. Metal music is a much better way to convey your messages if you are able to write lyrics and accompany it with as much fierceness as the Thūn collective does it. In that sense they pick up the wand from Black Sabbath who on their albums had songs warning of Lovecraftian doom. As Thūn shows, we are almost at the same place fifty years later, but the evidence is more precise these days, but the will to refuse it is just as stubborn.

So, that is the messages Higgs and his band convey throughout this album that opens with a song title saturated with implications: ”Where All Truths Lie”. Doomy melodic heavy riffs open the song with growling vocals supported by steady drum and a bass that drives the pace forward. The vocals turn to snarling raspy Black Metal style when the drum´s speed increases to blast mode. The lead guitar from Sanders slides into the sonics and after a slow rise, high pitched energetic and fast throughout. An extremely varied and diverse song that grabs your attention and holds it through all the shifts from mellow to frenzied tempos with tremolo riffs towards the end.

The next song, ”Look to the Sea” has deep and long nods to Black Metal through the vocals and the blast drums as the bass holds the melodic theme and gives depth to the riffage and the lead guitar that lays at the bottom, sometimes a bit dissonant. There is a counterpoint at about the three minute mark where a multitude of vocal techniques are introduced, even with choir effects. The riffing makes for a massive sound and the lead guitar sometimes drips of desperation supporting the lyrics, ”Howling to lost gods, denying blame”. Towards the end a theme oozes from the lead guitar reminiscent of the theme from the Twilight Zone.

”Kiss the Ground» might the angriest song even if it opens a bit mellow as the guitars are hovering around the drums and the distinct bass holding the melodic theme. The song turns slowly to Death Metal mode with fast rhythms and melodic riffage where the bass lays the solid groundwork once more. The lead guitar screeches and pulls, building heights and swirling through the dense sonics.

”I Have Failed You” continues the heavy doom proceedings where there are parts that often dip into Black Metal and impressive diverse vocals that answer each other and the song ends with the ”Fear is the weapon of the few/ But that´s no excuse - I have failed you” and fades into the next track ”…Completely”. In compliance with the previous album, this is an acoustic track, but this time with the guitar, last time with piano. It gives some time for reflection before the last two songs.

A bit into the song ”Zero Growth” there is an interesting turn in the sound of the lead guitar when it dips it toes into the surf guitar genre, a genre made famous by Dick Dale sixty years ago. But it soon comes back to the usual high pitched and impressively fast modes we are familiar with from Sanders. The music fades into blast beats and the end is chaotic while the next song, ”Final Cut” opens with heavy doom riffs where the lead guitar is improvising fast in the background before the growls take over. After some shifts in pace, it becomes a ferocious summary of what has been on the previous tracks and might also already point to the next volume in the four-album series. At the 3:49 minute mark the track is almost collapsing with a short break before the sonics race to the end with vocals countering each other, high pitched bursts from the lead guitar, the cymbals clashing, bass grooving, high pitched guitar piercing through and building up a grand finale.

There will be two more installments from Thūn. We know this because the band states that the drum work is already recorded. And if you are looking for any physical releases of their albums, you will look in vain, as the band walks the talk writing (don´t shoot the messenger here): “The album will initially be available only from Bandcamp as a 24-bit full dynamic range download with PDF lyric book because, y’know, CDs are obsolete, new vinyl is for posers, cassettes are for hipster posers and subscription streaming is for soulless stooges that actively participate in the devaluation of music.”