Desert-dwelling Arizona-based Thorn is back with another huge chunk of doom-soaked death metal.
Formed by Brennen Westermeyer as a one-man project, Thorn features a whole pile of sounds, From the large soundscapes of cavernous death metal, to the ethereal & dream-like quality of doom metal.
Now with the follow-up to 2022’s full-length “Yawning Depths”, Thorn has crafted the even more expansive “Evergloom”. Ten tracks & with a run time of over thirty sex minutes this album is a meaty one.
Opening with “Spectral Realms of Ethereal Light” really feels like it’s earned the title. Already this track feels like the largest & most open the band has been to date. Tremolo riffing would fit perfectly in a CVLT black metal band but the guttural vocal style of 90’s death metal is a great total opposite that makes Thorn stand out from the rest.
“Xenolith of Slime ” starts to ramp up the album. It’s still vast & uses beautiful echoing reverb on the guitar work but it is a very driving track. A heavy, relentless guitar chugging riff fits nicely underneath all the higher guitar sections & gives the whole album a nice backbone to keep one foot into the ultra brutal realm.
A track like “Wastelands Dimly Lit” really brings in that early death metal influence. A nice bridge between Morbid Angel & Incantation, this track has the harsh, punishing riffage of Trey Azagthoth but the oozing dark side of Incantation. And what goes understated with Thorn is their ability to create such thick heavy guitar melodies that work so well with the high range passages. Which is really hard to do. Some bands have trouble just getting the one to be right let alone both aspects.
It may be under two minutes but “Sapien Death Spiral” really brings the groove. A rhythmic riff really draws you in, but still being able to lay over those dream-like leads really give the track a really memorable edge to it, Plus the drum playing / programming on the track is superb.
When we reach the closer & title track “Evergloom” feels like the perfect book end to the rest of the album. At over six minutes this track slowly builds into the heaviest & most unrelenting track on the album. Bringing all the elements seen through the album its culmination of all its parts make it truly the stand out track on the album. The use of Westermeyer’s layered vocals give it that extra layer of brutality & really add to its already rich soundscape.
Evergloom is Thorn’s biggest & best work to date. Spending the time since the band’s creation in 2020 slowly building the band’s sound & cementing it within this album shows just how fresh & exciting Thorn is as a project.
Keeping the death doom sound alive, but also still keeping its feet firmly in the ooze. Bringing the dark, heavy punishing sound you want from death metal with some of the most beautiful & chaotic sounds i’ve heard all year.
Review: Joseph Mitchell
Evergloom is out via Transcending Obscurity Records on 15th September 2023
Artwork by Mark Cooper
Track listing – 1. Spectral Realms of Ethereal Light 2. Xenolith of Slime
3. Hypogean Crypt
4. Gaze of the Seer
5. Wastelands Dimly Lit
6. Phantom Noose
7. Sapien Death Spiral
8. Farron’s Covenant
9. Thanatos Basileos