Monday, March 15, 2010

Blind Buy Surprise Albums Pt. 5: Thornafire: Exacerbated Gnostic Manifestation

I have mentioned this album frequently on this blog without much actual discussion of it. Quite simply, this album rocks. At one point after moving to the bustling metropolis of St. Paul, Nebraska (population 2,300 or so very bored people), I really branched out my interest in heavy metal. I also began reading Metal Maniacs regularly. It was at this time that Thornafire was introduced to me. There was an ad in the magazine as well as a brief article about the band as some sort of coming attraction type thing. So, one day I visited the Ibex Moon Records webpage and placed a small order, getting Estuary, Incantation, and Thornafire. Shortly after receiving my albums in the mail, I had to go to Indiana with my family to a cousin's wedding. I listened to all three albums in the ride up there and that was that. Thornafire's album made a huge impression, as did the other two albums, but not to the same scale.

Thornafire sounds like an unholy mix of old school death metal bands and some of the more occult sounding death metal bands. Frequently, I describe them as Immolation meets Morbid Angel meets Death. The band plays murky, fast-paced riffs with a fair amount of bottom-end and an unwavering sense of doom. The vocals are deep and guttural, with a slight hint of phlegm, which sounds bestial and raw.

South American metal bands are often extremely primal and aggressive. There's just something about many bands that are from the continent that makes them a particularly intense listening experience. Look at Sepultura's early stuff, Sarcofago, Vulcano, Inquisition, Anal Vomit, and many others. Thornafire possesses these same traits on this album, coming out with an album that sounds like it would have come out in the early 1990's days that Immolation and Incantation were shocking the metal world with sludgy, occult-laced death. Thornafire sounds like this, but is not a retro band. They have masterfully laced their old school occult death metal with modern touches. This is one hell of a ride.

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