Thūn – II Review

This is quite the rabbit hole I’ve gone down. It started with Monsterworks back in 2018 (and again in 2020). Then I hitched a ride on a Bull Elephant, in 2019 and 2020.1 Not one to rest on my laurels, I then enjoyed deeply of some Thūn, on their debut last year. What do these three bands have in common? Members, for one thing, and an exuberant, over-the-top delivery of bizarre tales. Here on Thūn’s second album, aptly titled II, the quartet carry on with the theme of their self-titled debut: namely, the story of an eco-witch-terrorist who brings death to all who do not hold the environment sacred. How much damage will she do this time around?

Thūn are content to stick to the debut’s tried and true formula. Their brand of epic doom/death starts off with “Where All Truths Lie.” It’s a solid, well-paced opener with an interesting little groovy breakdown midway through. As expected, it features both vocal styles that singer/guitarist Jon Higgs favors: the cavernous growls and the raspy higher-pitched demonic rants. There is plenty of chaotic riffing and drumming, and wailing lead breaks from Nile’s Karl Sanders add spice to this and nearly every other track on II. “Kiss the Ground” carries on in this manner, with intriguing intertwined guitar arrangements to open the song and plenty of tempo changes to keep the listener bouncing around. Elsewhere, death metal rears its head on the short and furious “I Have Failed You,” and the follow-up track “Completely” is 100 seconds of delicate acoustic guitar and subtle percussion.

Ironically, the most dynamic song on the album is “Zero Growth,” where we get a healthy mix of doomy harmonized guitars, blast beats, and scathing lead breaks from Sanders. “Final Cut” (also the longest cut) features similar ebbs and flows, and the brief moment of double-time tempo in the middle of the track is excellent. But if we are being honest here, the songs would fall a bit flat if it wasn’t for Sanders lead guitar. He’s been given free rein here to go nuts, and he does so with aplomb, sprinkling crazy licks and solos throughout nearly every song, bringing the material up from what would otherwise be a bit of an average state.

Much like on their self-titled debut, the members of Thūn are each responsible for their own production. And being more obsessed with audio quality than most humans, they had Damian Herring deftly master the album and are releasing it only as 24-bit full dynamic range download (although “if you must” you can get it as MP3), because (according to their press release) “vinyl is for posers, cassettes are for hipster posers, and streaming is for soulless stooges.” Rant aside, the album sounds really good again, so kudos to the band for their attention to sonic detail. In particular, James Knoerl does a great job with his drum sounds, keeping everything authentic and punchy. So while the quality of the songwriting might be a bit average, the production is pretty spiffy.

Overall the best way to sum up II is that it is indeed another Thūn album. Perhaps the issue Yours Truly has with II is simply overload. Reviewing six albums by these guys over the course of four years might result in a bit of burnout. I may need to relinquish the upcoming Bull Elephant album to a fresher pair of ears. That being said, the songs on II are definitely given a huge boost by Sanders’ lead guitar playing. Without him I suspect the music would not be nearly as fun.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Eat Lead and Die Music
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 1st, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. And apparently again for their third later this year.
« »