May 102023

Let’s begin with a slice of history: Phoenix-based Thorn (the solo wrecking machine of Brennen Westermeyer) made its advent in 2020 with an EP entitled The Encompassing Nothing, which (in our words) revealed itself “as a musical monstrosity dedicated to the creation of cavernous, ominous, and dreadful death metal”. Thorn followed that auspicious debut by joining forces with Toronto’s Fumes for a fearsome split release in January 2021. We hosted the premiere of songs from that split, summing up Thorn’s contributions as “an amalgam of crushing brutality, freakish mayhem, and eerie supernatural frightfulness”.

After that we helped spread the word about Thorn‘s 2021 debut album Crawling Worship by premiering the song “Drowned Serpents”, which we described as “a jolting, neck-bending experience” shrouded in “an atmosphere of horror”.

Thorn followed that with another split and then another album, named Yawning Depths, and we touched on that one too, describing its advance track “Cavernous Shrines“ as “a ravishing combination of sensations”: “It will bludgeon you senseless, but also creates an atmosphere of otherworldly mystery and poisonous fascination. It’s discordant and grinding, cruel and even hideous, but mercurial and mesmerizing”.

Since then Thorn has continued to write its own history at a rapid clip, releasing two splits last year and now preparing to present yet another album, its first one on the Transcending Obscurity label. This one bears the portentous title Evergloom, and today we’ve got a sign of what it holds in store via our premiere of the song “Hypogean Crypt“.

Honestly, it would be disappointing if Thorn dropped its big hammers into a bag and gave them away to needy builders, but rest assured, that didn’t happen. “Hypogean Crypt” still has the feel of nails being driven into skulls. But it would be equally dismaying if Thorn didn’t also spread frightening chills across a listener’s flesh, and thankfully the song does that too.

There’s madness in the song’s grisly riffage, which slashes and writhes, and in the ravenous growls and torrid howls. Wafting above that, eerie wailing tones create a spectral, despairing presence. The sweep of those shrill sonic radiations becomes expansive, like confusion and hopelessness on a vast scale.

The horrifying vocals don’t fall silent, and the drums continue hammering (albeit in a strange yet syncopated pattern), but it’s those supernatural searing tones of agony that swallow up the listener and reveal spine-tingling visions into a realm of death.

Evergloom features suitably subterranean cover art by Mark Cooper, and options for pre-orders will be disclosed by Transcending Obscurity next week. Check the links below in the coming days for more info.

To help whet your appetite, we’ve also included the stream of a Thorn song called “Gaze of the Seer“, which appeared on Transcending Obscurity‘s massive label sampler in January of this year. If you’re looking for something that sounds like The Apocalypse, one in which the Earth becomes pulverized and fractured, all souls are left in ruin, and naught but terror and mass grief remains, look no further.

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