Thou/ Moloch – Tears That Soak a Callous Heart split 12”

By Kevin Stewart-Panko

This record isn’t so much a split EP as it is a clash of the titans concerning those who revel and relish in the slow and painful. First up – depending on which side you throw on the turntable first – is Thou, one of the newer breed of brooding, low-gear misanthropy masters who continue in their consistent ways. The band plays sludge, but refrains from having their surly sound approach doom territory. There is a difference; there’s absolutely no romanticism, elegance or aristocracy to Thou. They are purveyors of pure slimy sewer wall sludge wrapped in a layer of hatred for European imperialism rivalled only by idealistic, overly-PC, bleeding heart, annoyingly loud-mouthed first-year history majors or the Indians who originally populated North America and despite the molasses pace of their two tracks on showcase here, Thou is surprisingly driving and, in turn, rather catchy.

As you may know, I recently spent part of this past summer on tour. For an unrelenting 90-plus-percent of the time I was out, our travelling posse was dealing with some unbearable heat and killer humidity with not as many opportunities to shower and change clothes as passable hygiene recommends. During this time, it perpetually seemed like my sweaty nutsack was crazy glued to my moist inner thigh. Thou is the sonic representation of this, albeit with much more hatred and a lot less homoerotic imagery.

Moloch hammers the listener more from the feedback-abusing Eyehategod/Graves at Sea tip – especially on “Dry Cough” which is basically a mess of bouncy, swampy southern rhythms about how whiskey and cough syrup are the cures for what ails ya – which is funny considering they’re from Nottingham, England and Thou hail from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Brits don’t have the musical infectiousness of their counterparts, preferring more to beat you about the head and ears with a furious sledgehammer about the size of a distortion pedal and a Gibson SG. Their three offerings are more straight-ahead, pounding and spiteful, but also more monochrome and, if I didn’t know better, affected in their misery.

(Perpetual Motion Machine)

Thou – 7.5
Moloch – 6

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.