Released: Summer 2010
Release Type: Full Length
Label: Gilead Media (CD), Southern Lord (upcoming vinyl)
In the 2 or so month wake of Thou's latest full length, Summit, I think I've finally arrived at an opinion. I'll shelf my personal recollection of Thou's back catalog and get right to it.
It comes to me as a paradox as the album is coherent and well constructed, yet incomplete and a bit too long.
The album itself doesn't offer amateurish leaps from mood to mood, or anything too avant-garde and misplaced, rather it's something I don't know how to really approach or pin-point. To play it safe, I'd say it feels as Thou are holding back with this release. One track shines, and another doesn't really do anything for me. "By Endurance We Conquer," "Prometheus," and "Another World Is Inevitable" are shining examples of Thou at their best. Maybe moreso than before, Thou showcases detailed, complicated, and moving songwriting as each of these three bleed sludgy sophistication. But on the other hand, I tend to skip "Grissecon" every time i spin the cd, as well as "Summit Revisited" and "Voices In The Wilderness." This is a real shame as that makes up for 2/5 of the album.
The first track, "By Endurance We Conquer" is a winner, although I kind of dislike the synth or whatever effect that is around the end. This song, and the one after, I think sum up my view on the album perfectly. Starting off and being great throughout, "By Endurance We Conquer" closes like some pre-war ritual; a preamble if you will. Unfortunately "Grissecon" loses the vibe and just widdles around for 8 minutes. There's many different things in the song, but nothing that really grabs me; call me spoiled.
Whatever complaints aside, the album is about the 4th track and the 4th track alone. "Another World Is Inevitable" is a typical Thou styled lesson in tension, climax, melody and emotion. Just 2 seconds over 10 minutes, "Another World Is Inevitable" works it's way through heaves of tar and viscous fluid until finally erupting around the 7 minute mark as constant bass drum beats merge into the measure like troops ranking into a final formation. The outcome is uplifting, trance inducing and awe-inspiring as Bryan screeches "A new world springs from the corpse of the old," and eventually "This will be the day." With the shift towards more dynamic and sprawling composure, the lyrics seem to match as they're optimistic and more demanding (fortunately, lyrics are a strong point of Thou and always have been;so this isn't such a stretch). Needless to say, I end up playing this track a lot.
When the muck boils away what's left is that I'm not thoroughly satisfied with this album.
This isn't as good as Tyrant, I don't know if anything could be. It's similar to Peasant as there are stellar songs but also some that are less. Where Peasant had "The Work Ethic Myth," "Belt of Fire to Guide me, Cloak of Night to Hide me," "Burning Black Coals And Dark Memories," and "They Stretch Out Their Hands;" Summit has its three as stated earlier.
Without question it's worth a purchase (as is everything this band seems to touch). That being said, Thou is dynamic enough, heartfelt enough, and invigorating enough to be the only band that matters now, and even though Summit has it's rough edges, there's plenty of strong footing.
Buy it here. I'll add one other thing, there can't be enough praise for Adam over at Gilead for his work with this release and all other Thou stuff; the cd jacket is beautiful and quality and the shirt is flawless.
"Another World Is Inevitable"
"By Endurance we Conquer"