Thou’s 2018 full length Magus quickly proves excitingly sonically massive. The release comes some four years after the band’s previous full length, Heathen, and it almost sounds like Magus has been building up ever since. The record blasts its way onto the modern metal scene.
The band is known for their crushing, sludgy riffs; the demanding Magus, though, is a prime example of how their work incorporates so much more than that. The band is far more than a one-hit — or one-riff — wonder.
The lengthiness of their presentation allows the listener to feel (at least nearly) every last note. Sometimes, with heavy music works, the listener is left spinning as if they’ve just gotten off a literal roller coaster, and the hope — at least for the ride operator/musician — is that fans will want to board the coaster again. With Thou’s Magus, though, it’s different — the band’s dark, twisted, brutal presentation forces the listener to dwell on every one of the more than one hour’s worth of sonic brushstrokes. The record is an all encompassing sonic experience; it’s as all encompassing, at least, as an album can be.
There’s little let-up as one makes their way through the album — although, on that note, the “let-ups” which are there provide an interesting frame for the record’s heaviness. There are brief forays into dark, industrial-esque playing in a manner reminiscent of the band’s 2018 drone EP The House Primordial. The points are fitting changes of pace; they’re not just filler. Those brief moments of sonic respite provide jumping off points for the band to get even darker and heavier.
Their heaviness is so thick that there’s little a listener can do but be drawn in. This isn’t something to stand and watch from a distance — it’s a work to be involved in. The band’s sound feels almost more massive than on previous releases, but that feeling could just be due to the freshness of new material. What they’ve done, though, is taken some elements of their past and concurrent work and augmented them into something gloriously new. They’ve followed their interest in downtrodden sludge/doom to the point of having their dynamic music well poised to make a home in the receptive listener’s mind.
5/5 — or 10/5 — Stars
Listen below, via Bandcamp.