[Tyrant has two different album artworks, based on whether your acquired the album from Gilead Media or from the band itself; the latter’s album artworks all have the grayscale motif.]
Thou began in the Sludge Metal State of Louisiana. Since 2005, they have released a prolific amount of albums, extended-plays, compilations, and collaborations; and are routinely featured as a part of NPR’s “First Listening” series, which also acknowledged Heathen as one of the top metal releases of 20141. The band steadily evolved from straight sludge metal into a nuanced hybrid of doom, sludge, and black metal. The band is notable for their heavy and abrasive yet still quite melodic songwriting that has more in common with the experimental noise-approach of Indian or the post-rock tendencies of early Isis2 than the punky and rhythm-driven sludge of fellow southerners Baroness and Torche.
Tyrant is Thou’s debut full-length album that – alongside compilations Rendon and Oakland – showcases the group’s early sludge metal influence. Tracks 2 through 5 are relatively interchangeable, but the others bare Thou’s early propensity toward experimentation. The title track has a melodic winding guitar lead is the first of Thou’s explorations in juxtaposing quiet melody with caustic disharmony. “What Blood Still Flows from These Veins” ends on an ominous four-and-a-half minute feedback-drenched drone. Finally, “Acceptance” is a surprisingly soft but unsurprisingly beautiful instrumental outro that revealed early in Thou’s career that they were to be more than another noisy chug-metal3 group, made all the more powerful by immediately following the eerie ending to “What Blood…”
1. Tyrant – (8:27) – ★★★★☆
2. With a Cold, Life Extinguishing Elegance – (7:18) – ★★★☆☆
3. Fucking Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean – (6:29) – ★★★☆☆
4. I Was Ignored. And Judged. And Cast Down. – (6:29) – ★★★☆☆
5. Monstrance – (6:26) – ★★★☆☆
6. What Blood Still Flows from These Veins – (12:07) – ★★★★☆
7. Acceptance – (11:46) – ★★★★☆
1“10 Favorite Metal Albums Of 2014 : NPR,” NPR Music, accessed 18 September 2015, http://www.npr.org/2014/12/30/372467357/10-favorite-metal-albums-of-2014
2Especially on Heathen.
3Defined as crust punk, metalcore, and sludge metal groups that solely rely on down-tuned chug riffs.