Review Source Equivoke
Here’s a submission by an Indiana band called Thenn. I’m trying to get through the pile, and I think this is an excellent place to start.
What I think would best describe Thenn’s style is the reverse of Young and In The Way. Where YAITW take a sprinkle of black metal and delicately lace their crusty hardcore with it, Thenn stand on a thick foundation of old school black metal ala Darkthrone and inject some crust into thrashy dark nest they’ve made.
With a sickly rasp the vocalist sprays cryptic cult messages, it’s a very ugly and gnarled howl that perfectly fits the tangled instrumentals underneath. The guitar and drumming is very reminiscent of older iterations of black metal with fast, crunchy tremolo riffs and abrasive, foul percussion. The bass has a fair presence as well which is always nice to hear.
This group kind of takes Barghest’s approach as they breath new life into the style. When the crust emerges it’s subtle and more akin to YAITW’s V. Eternal Depression style: occasional cold passages between the writhing, but they are few and leave the black metal unscathed the majority of the EP.
There’s five short tracks to ingest here, and they’re all quite chaotic and hazy. “Abscesses of Light” starts things off with straight up stormy black metal riffs, with very little indication of their crusty influences except for a more hardcore tempo chunk near the end. Following up is “Bathing in Cold Autumn” which continues with the same fervor but with a slight tainting of hardcore when a slower powerchord emerges amongst the tremolos.
“Vigils” has more indications of it’s crust leanings with both the intro riff which has that familiar tempo, laced with a muddy film, as well as the final push of the song being more galloping, winding upward. It’s a sorrowful build. With the next track “They Are Given to the Inviting Earth” we dive deep into the blackened abyss once again with only one tail section that brings the crust to the fore, slowly crushing the permafrost beneath their trampling hooves.
“Threshing the Golden Fields”, the closer, is the closest thing to YAITW’s style on the record but still manages to carve it’s own path. Feedback is briefly introduced before a full on onslaught of ripping black metal, only to end abruptly as a frostbitten passage rises, simple and slow. The croaking of the vocals chimes in as the drumming becomes more and more amorous. The right channel guitar is introduced, but not long after we return to black metal territory, slithering in the muck for the final riff.
I like what they’ve done here. It surprised me: instead of blindly following the newer crop of blackened hardcore groups Thenn have taken a more purified path, carefully adding elements of crust or hardcore to bolster the grim black metal they’ve conjured. It’s tempting to do no doubt considering it’s the next most attractive wave after the new old school death metal and atmospheric black metal waves.
I suggest you guys check it out, especially if you want something that doesn’t “bastardize” the “sacred genre” by skirting most black metal ingredients and resting on hardcore foundations. I myself don’t care for one over the other, as long as it’s done well. And Thenn have made a great effort to do so here. I’m pretty sure if you’re a fan of YAITW, Black Monolith, Hexis, Torch Runner or Void Forger you’ll enjoy this a lot.
Thenn have graciously put this up for free download on their bandcamp page below, so head over there and have a taste.