The Dark Pool

Written by: KW on 06/01/2020 22:38:37

Australia has been cultivating some of the very best metalcore bands in recent years. Powerhouses like Northlane and Polaris rank among my favourites, and in 2019, Thornhill joined them right at the top echelons with impressive force with this, their first full-length “The Dark Pool”. Their 2018 EP “Butterfly” already showed immense promise in these young, Melbourne-based guys, which just made me all the more excited for this inevitable début. And if you like your metalcore groovy and djenty, this thing will deliver satisfaction in droves.

“The Dark Pool” is a loud album — this is apparent from the get-go thanks to the fuzzy, down-tuned grooves and octave-based riffs emanating from the guitars on “Views from the Sun”, which instantly makes some obvious nods to the English favourites in Architects. The sound can best be described as an amalgamation of the ferocity of that band mixed with the soaring soundscapes and choruses of Northlane, albeit Thornhill still maintain their own unique sound overall, which is deeply rooted in catchiness behind a wall-of-sound approach to production. “Nurture” focuses entirely on making the groove the focal point of the track, with an almost nu-metal-like simplicity to its main riff, while Jacob Charlton’s high-pitched vocals make the chorus instantly memorable. “The Haze” adds some somberness to the mix, where Charlton’s vocals take center stage on top of roaring bass and scratchy synths, effortlessly fading into the metalcore ballad of the record, “Red Summer”, which subscribes to a more crescendo-focused formula to songwriting and delivers a truly haunting vocal performance, as falsetto and underplayed breathiness really help cement the emotional punch as the track develops towards its bomb of a climax.

“Lily & The Moon” combines electronic sensibilities as a backdrop to another beautiful track that later erupts into such a unique-sounding breakdown riff, utilizing what sounds like a tapping-only technique on the down-tuned guitar, with not a single chug to be heard anywhere (what the fuck is this, a metalcore breakdown without a chug!?). It helps to create this insanely bouncy feel unlike anything I’ve heard all year. And speaking of bouncy: that word is without a doubt the best way to describe the roaring “Coven”, where Charlton almost exclusively switches out his clean singing with desperate screams. Meanwhile, “Where We Go When We Die” sits as one of my very favourite songs of 2019; it is just an expertly crafted piece of melodic heavy music that explores the many facets of the genre. It is dark, emotional, epic, unbelievably heavy, and spine-chilling to the highest degree when the lyrics of the last minute hit the listener:

“You speak of paradise, like it exists forever

They all made you believe, but I don't think I want to

Well what's the point of life? If we can't be together

I need you here with me, I need you to remember”

“The Dark Pool” is in equal parts a savage metalcore album filled to the brim with massively satisfactory breakdowns and enough grooves to make any neck sore from bopping, and an album that without a doubt includes enough ear-worm-style choruses to be continuously memorable, which in my opinion is exactly what all metalcore should strive to be. Perhaps the only criticism I can draw then, is that I would've liked another track or two to be included with the same ferocity and unrelenting heaviness as displayed on “Coven”, but when the quality generally remains this high throughout, and when I don’t find myself skipping any of the songs on repeated listens, it’s hard to really feel like that’s a super valid criticism. Thornhill have simply created one of the most exciting and impressive début records in recent memory, and as such, they deserve all the success that should be heading their way.


Download: Views from the Sun; The Haze, Lily & the Moon; Coven; Where We Go When We Die
For the fans of: Architects, Northlane, Polaris
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.10.2019

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