Review: “The Encompassing Nothing” by Thorn

Weaving elements of Death Metal, Doom, Post-Metal and Grind, the debut release from Phoenix Arizona based one man project Thorn is the ideal soundscape for worshiping pagan gods and making offerings to unknown entities while going feral in schizophrenic madness. As a musician, you may know Thorn as the guitarist from Xeno Ooze and Glitterbomb but this multi-instrumental solo project is a different beast entirely. Cavernous, brooding and bleak with foreboding and ominous overtones. Mixed and Mastered by Prey For Death Productions and with artwork by Such Is Life, it is set to reign terror on the unsuspecting listener…

…If you were looking at the cover art and expecting the spitting, snarling demon that is Snorlax or Resin Tomb, then you might be surprised by “Chasms of Rust“. The vocals are pitch black, the call of a demon from the blackened depths of a cave, but with a sinister and yet mournful undercurrent on music. Slow and crushing, watching and waiting. The single verse ends all too quickly but sets a swirling atmosphere of plague and death before the injection of energy that is “Häxan Womb” (or “Witches Womb” translated from Swedish) that sees some blast beats make their way into a Death Metal track with quirky, off kilter solo that cuts a poison path with an occult misery. “Pagan’s Monolith” however is a different story with a battering ram of gargantuan riffs, while those vocals are progressively becoming more eerie and monstrous with each listen. An obvious tip of the hat lyrically, “Old Father Below” raises a poison chalice before drinking the contents while the riffs ring out. There are some Sludge laden moments and some brighter, more melodic Death Metal leads that are in stark contrast to the vocals that burn the flesh from the bone…

…then the melody of “Returning to Dust” plays out with a Funeral Doom style mournful echo. The vocals are barely audible but only serve to enhance the sense of loss, like sunshine shimmering on a lake in which a loved one drowned. The ache is something unexpected from an album as with such deviation to this point but serves as a moment of rest before “Fields of Blight” claws at your soul with swirling black moods and Black Metal aesthetics that plunge the World into darkness. Title track “The Encompassing Nothing” then continues to pull at that thread, the riffs ringing out through wave after wave of pummeling percussion. Thorn has become the puppet master, risen from beyond the grave to direct the evil deeds and this debut leaves nothing but the black to draw you in [7/10]

1. Chasms of Rust
2. Häxan Womb
3. Pagan’s Monolith
4. Old Father Below
5. Returning to Dust
6. Fields of Blight
7. The Encompassing Nothing

The Encompassing Nothing” by Thorn is out 18th September and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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