Monday, December 13, 2010

Thou: Summit (2010)


Thou is a sludge/doom band that's been making some year-end best-of lists in the metal world, so I decided to check out Summit.

After hearing it, I'm not quite sure why they've gotten so much attention. This is not to say that it's bad, in any way. They have a very heavy, warm sludge sound, and their vocalist has a raspy screech that could almost work for a black metal band. They play some good, simple riffs at a slow pace. They seem to know when to let a note ring out in the amplifier, and they're not afraid to throw in some dissonance here and there.

But with the recent rise of sludge/doom, nothing about this makes Thou seem special. None of the riffs are going to stick with you long after you finish the album, and honestly the songs tend to run together. The drumming didn't stick out enough for me to even notice it. None of the riffs or songs are bad either, but when the songs range from 8 to 11 minutes, you might hope for a little more variety.

The big exception to this is album closer "Voices in the Wilderness", which does have memorable riffs, includes more feedback, and has some acoustic sounds and clean vocal harmony near the end, making it memorable.

Those who praise the album tend to focus on other tracks, though. Maybe I just don't get it? Or maybe this is one that's supposed to grow on you? I'm not sure. But with all the great sludge/doom out there lately (Salome, Unearthly Trance, and Cough come immediately to mind) this doesn't really have all that much to recommend it.

The Verdict: Nothing about Summit is bad. In fact, the guitars have a great vibe and the vocals are good. But it doesn't seem to stick with you for long after you hear it. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.


  1. The problem with Thou I think is that they are too prolific for their own good. They put out so much stuff that they spread themselves too thin. That's just my opinion.

  2. You could be right. There are several other doom-oriented bands (e.g. Nadja) who are extremely prolific, and have an extremely loyal following who think everything they do is brilliant, but nobody else seems to get it.

  3. I'm definitely in the "not getting it" category when it comes to Nadja.

  4. Yeah, me too, but with one exception--I think their music is really good as background to a certain one of life's activities.