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Thormesis - The Sixth

Thormesis
The Sixth
by Sean McGuirk at 29 March 2019, 4:41 AM

Germany’s THORMESIS is on their sixth full-length release, aptly titled “The Sixth.”  From their beginnings in 2008, they have played a style of Black Metal that weaves in pagan elements, clean singing, and off-kilter melodies, reminding of works by bands like TAAKEULVER and MOONSORROW.  They’ve taken almost a complete 180 in production value and aesthetics since then, including a serious leap from their last record, 2017’s “Trümmerfarben,” making “The Sixth” a landmark album in many ways. Not only are they using English lyrics on some tracks (the single “Thy Morbid Drunken Ways,” for example) but the sound is much more of an accessible sort of Black Gaze that bands like America’s DEAFHEAVEN and France’s ALCEST have been at the forefront of in recent years.

You can hear it right off the bat on opener “Sonnen,” with the first appearance of that kind of airy suspended chord that is so prominent in the genre.  The track has the kind of melodic underpinnings that, under some different instrumentation, sounds like it could be a JIMMY EAT WORLD tune.  Not necessarily a bad thing!  The result is certainly very pleasing, but may be off-putting to those fans wanting more of the simplistic production sensibilities of their earlier work.  “Thy Morbid Drunken Ways,” comes out with a bang, with a nicely textured blast beat, before heading quickly into a symphonic half-time head-nodding section. In addition to Velsir’s majestic screams, there’s some added experimentation here with a modulated voice effect on his clean vocals at one point in the song.

“Chor der Toten” makes good use of the quiet space in between these really huge, open-chord, wall-of-sound moments, using some tasteful clean guitar tones.  “Zeichen zum Grund” builds its atmosphere little-by-little, starting out sounding like an EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY track, before layers of guitars coalesce like a mist over a double kick-driven groove.  These are all certainly very “pretty” melodies, and for fans of the aforementioned and bands like SUMMONING or NOKTURNAL MORTUM, you may find some common ground here.  “Lichtmeer” takes the pop sensibilities to another level, adding an acoustic piano to punctuate the melody in the back half of the song.  “One Last Tear For Every Burned Soul” is appropriately desperate and melancholy in a way that atmospheric Black Metal is so adept at.  “Deadened Skies” has elements of Prog Metal, with an emotional clean-sung chorus and beautiful piano-led outro that puts to rest any notion that the band may return to its primitive roots.

More than anything, the object of each song in this collection seems to be to create goosebumps for the listener with epic, ethereal surges of melody.  That constant barrage of grandeur can create complications of overstimulation, however, that must be reckoned with at times.  A band like AMON AMARTH, who made some similar leaps on “With Oden On Our Side,” found a way to create that perfect balance, ultimately succeeding in breaking out in a big way after that record.  If that is the hope for THORMESIS, they’ve certainly created a worthy record on which to build their foundation, one with plenty of eargasmic moments that will have you mesmerized as I was.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Sonnen
2. Thy Morbid Drunken Ways
3. Chor der Toten
4. Zeichen zum Grund
5. Lichtermeer
6. One Last Tear For Every Burned Soul
7. Deadened Skies
Lineup:
Travos - All Instruments, Songwriting
O.D. - Drums, Songwritting
Velsir - Vocals, Guitar
Horus - Bass
Record Label: MDD Records
     


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Edited 19 November 2019
 

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