Thou – Magus (Review)

ThouThou are a sludge/doom band from the US and this is their fifth album.

Thou are a very prolific band. They have released enough material on splits, EPs, etc. to probably equate to more material again than can be found on their actual albums. This in no way lessens the impact of when they do release a full length album, however.

Thou mainly, (but not exclusively), offer up heavy, sludgy, swampy doom metal – take a loose Eyehategod base and extend and expand from there. Thou seem to be spiritually, (and to a lesser extent musically), influenced by the 90s grunge scene more than anything, (and they have covered bands from this era extensively in their vast discography). This helps to lend their music a few different aspects here and there, including a certain melodic edge that can be sometimes heard. The depressive power of Alice in Chains should be noted in particular, as it’s probably the most relevant to Thou’s music.

Magus is probably Thou’s most advanced material to date, with their songwriting skills becoming only more polished over time, it seems. The core of the music on Magus does a good job of mixing heavy slabs of doom with crushing groove and spiteful sludge energy. Added to this, however, is a creativity that allows the songs to occasionally branch out into other musical waters, such as some of the aforementioned grunge elements, acoustic forays, unexpected clean male and female singing, and noise/ambient accoutrements, to name but a few.

Thou have an obvious appreciation for musical depth, and exploit this mercilessly on Magus. The songs are rich and flavoured with various subtleties and enhancements. In fact, even when the band are at their heaviest and slowest there’s still texture and nuance to be had most of the time. This doesn’t mean that the band lack any crushing power, however, and the entire album moves forward with the relentless inevitability of an oncoming natural disaster.

This is a long and involved collection of tracks, lasting a beefy 76 minutes. Thou make the playing time count, however, and their latest album is one of their most well-rounded and diverse offerings to date. On Magus Thou are really hitting their stride, and these songs are both effective and affecting.

Very highly recommended.

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