Thaw – Earth Ground

(Witching Hour Productions, 2014)

Polish Thaw have been around for some years, but have already played alongside big and diverse names, so their career has had a very good start, which comes as no surprise when listening to their original yet easily approachable blend of sludge and black metal.

Their latest full-length starts with an ominous spectral bass-part, after which one might think to hear some hipster-melancholic post metal, but instead we are stricken with a massive wall of ferocious blasting drums, huge bass and guitars, and vocals that sound surprisingly evil (for this kind of music-genre).

If the riffs would be more typical, Thaw on their black metal parts would sound like any band from the early nineties to here, but the riffs are quite abstract and eerie, sometimes reminding of the more “artistic” black metal style brought famous by bands like Deathspell Omega.

On their sludge parts – where the bass player especially can sludge and jam away quite freely – they often sound more like early Mastodon than the more stonier sludge like Eyehategod. The changes between sludge and black metal work very well. Also the guitar has a very sludgy sound, a necessity for a union of this sort I guess.

The vocals have lots of texture, combining black metal screams and shouting with clearer shouting, maybe a bit hardcorish in nature. The drum-sounds are massive and full of crashing sounds, very well played. There are lots of depth in the drums, as the velocities of the hits can be easily heard, making this a very organic sounding ride.

The whole album is filled with pretty much the same diverse and interesting heavy material, but if something negative must be said, the only thing this album suffers from are longish parts of ambient like noisy parts (usually using the same instrument sounds that are in use in the “normal” parts, but sometimes using electronics as well), but this is a question of taste. A lot of people most likely appreciate these small artistic breathers between the intense ramming.

I can imagine this band playing very well alongside bands like Dragged Into Sunlight and Altar Of Plagues (which they have done already), and bigger names like Converge as well. This should hit home to all intelligent and open-minded black metal listeners as well as to the hordes of people from hardcore and sludge mentalities who are into black metal.

8/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

Thaw (Facebook)

Witching Hour Productions

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