Thumos triumphantly return with chisel-precision to carve out a stake in the Post-Rock Pantheon of Symphonic Doom!
Not an easy thing, to come back strong after an outstanding album like The Republic, but one short year later, it is apparent that Thumos is still on top of their game. It goes without saying that the past few years have been a very exciting time for underground music and Thumos is a clear herald that things are not slowing down. If I may, humbly suggest to the wind that this album find its way onto vinyl? There is an empty space on my AOTY rack.
The lavish praise is already well-deserved so this need not be a formal affair. Suffice to say that Thumos has rallied all their best from previous works and rekindled with a beauty and polish that’s managed to elevate this thing to a one-oh! It’s a banger cover-to-cover, for me. On brand theatricality is definitely retained, meanwhile some of the more straight-laced Heavy Metal guitar work and grungier Post-Metal sounds from The Republic and the distortion-rich heaviness from Nothing Further Beyond is left out on this one in favor of a sort of Goth Rock-meets-Red Sparrowes flavor. An impeccable sense of balance in the production as well as the instrumentals ensure this is not yet another tired genre mashup. It feels organic, inspired.
Thumos’ thematic substrate is, as always, fascinating. But if you are anything like your humble commentator, a few hard years post-Uni and recall as much about the Platos as you do the Dennets of the world at this point, it will prove much more salient to simply transport yourself into another age. Tracks like ”Socrates” and ”Diotama” or the massive ” Alcibiades” certainly take you there. It is easy to fancy yourself an ancient scholar, albeit your debate is punctuated by a lot of head-bobbing and the ground shakes tremendously from the impact of an epic battle just outside. You may die in mere moments but you won’t be caught dead disproven.
Thumos has been admirably consistent for a good few years now. Both in quality and output. They have been treading a certain progressive rock trend that not many pull off to mass appeal but something is clearly working for them. Something about the strong Doom element in the rhythm section, the sort of classical, but measured Prog sweeps, the bluesy swagger, the thundering drums, and the technical bravado, in general; the sense of adventure on every track as movement flows into movement helps to make the album so novel and fun.
Bounding over the top of, frankly an astounding multi-album cycle, this might be their best work yet. Although, some knob-heads and go-hards, like myself, will go back to The Republic and wonder whether dialing down the aggression on this one was the right move, the rational mind will come to appreciate the change in state. Indeed, the great thing about Symposium is how Thumos has shifted gears just enough to keep it interesting, keep it moving towards a new expression of their core ideals. It is a grand, beautiful album and I love it.