THORN – Whenever…

THORN - Whenever...


MAG Distribution
Release date: 2002

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

From the shards of Cranthorpe, the band Thorn was formed. Thorn is one of those bands who call themselves a melodious death metal band. Number one — no such thing. When the vocals are whispered and growled in a guttural and savage manner, melody tends to get lost. The band does have its moments though, and their newest release Whenever … shows they are on the right track to … wherever.

(Usually, Metal Express Radio doesn’t review something this extreme, but every once in a while it’s fun to pour alcohol on the open wound.)

The CD begins with a smooth, almost bluesy acoustic guitar piece. This kind of instrumental intro actually works — the calm before the storm, if you will. The band is from Poland, and since their lyrics are in English, you have to expect a certain awkwardness at times, but in the second track, they do write some interesting lines like: “Hope is in charge of fools only. Careful not to let anybody becomes wiser than granite rocks.” The song is called “Forgotten One,” and it is an intense, raging song with incessant double-bass that goes well with anyone in a whiskey frenzy.

“Steam Engine” has a bit of a Slayer-like sound to it, especially the pacing of the vocals. Again, the vocals are sort of whisper-barked, if that’s even possible, and while they aren’t as annoying as most of the bands in this genre, they aren’t endearing either.

One of the coolest songs on the CD is “NO3” (Nitrate Ion). The song is about a man whose “dreams tell me I was born to kill, but everybody around says not to worry.” That’s pretty damn funny. So, he takes it upon himself to get rid of himself, with an injection of NO3, and thinks to himself “they’ll find me and say I am a hero.” This is the second best song on the CD, and one where brutal vocals match the theme of the song to perfection. Also, the stunted breathing during the song, as the antagonist dies, is eerie.

Thorn also considers themselves something of a doom metal band, and they show those colors on the track “Lost Beauty.” This song does have a Candlemass grind to it, heavy, slow at the beginning, just churning along. This is by far the best track on Whenever …, mainly because the vocals are chanted/spoken at the beginning, which is in tune with the pace of the song, and when they crank it up, the vocals go that way as well. Good writing. They do have a simple, morose poetry to the lyrics as well, as the song ends with “I talk to northern lights, to icebergs. Their staying close to me makes me feel we’ll soon unite.”

The musicianship on Whenever … can’t be complained about. They change pace enough not to be penciled in as “just” a death metal band, but again, you have to get beyond the vocals. As was stated before, the vocals are better than most of the bands in this genre, but they are death vocals, so fans of bands like Tiger Tailz probably won’t dig Thorn all that much. The last track on the CD, another instrumental, isn’t tainted by death vocals, and you get to just enjoy what they can do. Guitarist Maciek Wasilewski shines here, and where on some CDs the instrumental seems like filler, this is one of the best tracks on the disk.

Thorn may not be for everybody, but owning your own sound in a genre like this speaks well for the band’s future.

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