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Thorn – Yawning Depths

Yawning Depths
by Oil Gonzalez at 20 March 2022, 9:48 PM

The pandemic sadly slowed the progress of live music, with the vast majority of the world forced to remain in their homes. This made live concerts largely unviable, with concerts with restrictions only emerging in the latter half of 2020. This forced many musicians into their home studios to fulfill their creative needs. This includes Brennen Westermeyer, and his solo project THORN. I assumed “Yawning Depths” would be just a one off project, but with this being one of 5 release within the last 2 years, that speaks volumes of Brennen’s creativity and drive! This offering promises to be dark, miserable, and a concoction of all extreme metal genres.

The opening to “Hellmouth” set the standard for the album. One strike of the guitar, quickly followed by a thunderous drum fill and hell is unleashed! Filthy distorted vocals, crushing guitar riffs…and we’re only 4 seconds in! This definitely encapsulates the grind elements of the album, were there’s no room for fancy drawn out introductions. Just getting straight into the action. Don’t get me wrong, I love progressive metal and doom, were ideas and passages that are slowly formulated are the order of the day, but I can certainly appreciate THORN’s no nonsense approach here. Next up is the title track, “Yawning Depths”. There’s similar grindcore elements here with the crushing guitar tones. Brennen has captured the tone of his guitar perfectly, with the ear piercing high pitches being dark and unsettling in equal measures. An homage to death metal legends BOLT THROWER. I can see evidence of mixing up rhythmic passages, whether it’s straight up blast beats or more complex grooves.

Sadly, after this song I think a lot of the early momentum is lost. A lot of the songs do begin to sound too similar. “Lapis Lazuli” is an exception, which is a much slower offering derived from the stoner/psych end of the spectrum. However, the rest of the songs begin to sound like distorted chaos with no real way to differentiate between each song. Production wise, it feels gritty which I suppose is expected in a extreme metal album. That being said, this sounds just too dirty for me. I’m unsure if this is a production or technical issue, but honestly I can’t hear a word he says! I’ve actually read one review that suggested this album is too diverse and trying to please everybody in a tick the box exercise. I honestly found that statement utterly ridiculous. What’s wrong with being diverse and blending across several sub genres, like THORN have? That being said, I do wonder if Brennen would benefit from some outside influence and perhaps an external producer. There’s no doubt that he’s extremely creative, but it just feels like that there needs to be somebody else to allow him to filter his ideas through to get some outside perspective and feedback to get the best out of him.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Hellmouth
2. Yawning Depths
3. Cavernous Shrines
4. Noxious Existence
5. Judgement’s Throne
6. Lapis Lazuli
7. Unknown Body Of Light
8. Graven Moonglow
Brennen Westermeyer – All Instruments
Record Label: Chaos Records


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Edited 28 May 2023

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