Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s sludge-coated, doom-laden outfit known as Thou formed in 2005 and have continuously forged their own path largely without the use of networking sites, such as myspace or facebook, and have just spawned their latest creation. Summit (Gilead Media) is the band’s third full-length effort and is a startlingly focused and delightfully intricate effort, with monstrous piles of riffs that seem to never end…disappearing on the horizon that is the end of the record.
The opening number, “By Endurance We Conquer”, surely lives up to its name, in that by the end of the roughly nine minutes it encompasses, the band had already won this reviewer over with the song’s simultaneous sense of despair and eerie, splendor. It is likely that the record’s grandest journey lies in the agonized, eleven minute plus span of “Prometheus”, which brings to mind the riffs and style that the legendary Eyehategod have transformed into classic status. The following track, “Another World is Inevitable”, follows suit accordingly, with a sense of elegant destruction intact. Meanwhile, “Summit Reprise” takes shape in instrumental form, haunting the listener’s experience with the sound of horns, minimal percussion and blowing winds, which allow just a short chance for breath before the album’s closing number, “Voices in the Wilderness” return things to their previous sludge-and-doom state of being only to end in chants and piano to give the listener a chance at survival.
Throughout the exquisitely plodding duration the six tracks found on Summit, it becomes quickly evident that Thou have taken the highpoints of their past efforts and combined those parts into one devastating whole. The previously-mentioned wall of thunderous riffs, along with screeching, raw-throated vocals combine in an end result with an overall vibe that is both violent and beautiful in it’s ultimate delivery. If one wishes to delve into labels or categories further, it could be said that Thou have taken the sludge genre and added some of their own flavor, making their contribution that much more enjoyable and it would be a shame if this record went unnoticed by anyone that calls themselves fans of the legendary Louisiana heavy music scene as well.