The powerful Louisiana sludge/doom band Thou dropped a surprise yesterday… the first in a series of releases that the band have planned as a lead-up to their first full-length (entitled Magus) since 2014’s Heathen. The lack of any advance promotion or track streams isn’t that unusual for this band, but it seems to be a phenomenon that’s growing more widespread.
This new album-length EP, The House Primordial, is something of a departure from Thou’s main line of sound. Because you can obviously listen to it now, I don’t have a thorough review for you, just some reactions based on one play-through (which was enough to make me buy it). You could think of it as a preview of what you’ll be getting yourselves into if you choose to listen.
The album is an alternating sequence of movements, each one bleeding into the next. The first track, and every other track from that point forward, consist of “instrumental” pieces, without drums (except for the ritualistic “Birthright”) and with ambient electronic elements more prevalent within them than stringed instrumentation. These unsettling compositions convey moods that range from haunting to nightmarish.
The tracks that come in between these ambient pieces vary (somewhat), but all are slow, massively distorted, staggeringly powerful, and thoroughly desolate. Each of them is titanically heavy, and each is mind-scarring in its overall impact. The vocals, as always, are incinerating in their intensity. The apotheosis of these progressions, the closing track “Malignant Horror”, is petrifying in its destructive force and in its atmosphere of undiluted terror.
The combined effect of these seamlessly integrated alternating movements is to sink the listener into a trance-like state, a waking dream of despair and death.
The House Primordial is available here through Robotic Empire, and it’s on iTunes and other streaming services as well: