Thou The Archer & the Owle

Thou The Archer & the Owle
Over a span of 20-plus releases, prolific low-end masters Thou have redefined doom with artistic atmosphere, varied instrumentation and a welcome sense of melody not heard enough in this often stagnant genre. The Archer & the Owle isn't from a dreadful Renaissance fair band covering '80s songs on medieval instruments. Instead, the Baton Rouge quintet take their cues from New Orleans brethren Acid Bath, Eyehategod and Crowbar on this six-song EP. Two tracks are taken from their Summit full-length. "Voices in the Wilderness" is ten minutes of crushing doom chords, sounding a bit like Thrones and Dominions-era Earth, but with the black metal screams of Bryan Funck. It ends acoustically, with guitar, piano, and humming vocals. "Summit Reprise" is shorter and moodier, with horns, cymbal crescendos and tympani. "Bonnet Carré" is loping doom reminiscent of Graves at Sea mixed with Evoken. A trio of covers also graces the record, kicking off with a slower reading of Nirvana's "Something in the Way" (from their upcoming In Utero tribute album), with brooding verses and scathing vocals. The last two cuts are Pygmy Lush (a band starring former Pg. 99 members) covers and are radically different from their punki-sh folk originals. "Cold World" builds unrelentingly with guitars, then voice, drums and bass to a feedback-fuzzy finish, while "There There" bristles with punishing riffage, almost Godflesh-like in delivery. Fully realizing their creative potential, Thou raise the bar for all doom bands with another sensationally blackened record. (Robotic Empire)