Thūn, II (Eat Lead And Die Music 2022)

The second album from Thūn features Nile’s Karl Sanders on lead guitar.

Thūn is a “Bull Elephant offshoot” that focuses on thunderous and cracking doom metal. The people responsible for it are Jon Higgs (guitar, vocals) and Hugo Wilkinson (bass), with James Knoerl (drums). Returning as guest lead guitarist is Karl Sanders of the legendary band Nile.

As with Bull Elephant, the story that goes along with the music (and/or vice versa) is complex. Here is a brief description. “The narrative concept is Bull Elephant adjacent … drawing from the same loosely Lovecraftian mythos but following the present-day adventures of an eco-witch-terrorist … The enemy is every person or corporation that puts profit before preservation of the natural world. With tentacles.” Uh-huh.

In case you are a little fuzzy on the whole Bull Elephant situation, here is a refresher. “Bull Elephant is the story of a slain African elephant that occultist Ahnenerbe SS attempted to bring back from the dead as a new form of battle asset. However, before re-animation could be completed it was intercepted by a mysterious witch-shaman, pursuing her own agenda and redirecting the undead creature’s purpose.” There have been two Bull Elephant albums so far, with the capping third due out later this year.

So, let’s leave it that there is a lot going on in the realm of Thūn and Bull Elephant. But what about the music?

As with the first Thūn album, there are seven tracks on II. The opening song is “Where All Truths Lie,” a heavy and mysterious affair. There is a very spacey feel to the music, and that could be inner or outer space, for all we know. The music shifts and pauses, turns its focus from mountain to valley to sky, taking in all it surveys. “Look To The Sea” is more directly melancholy, in my ears anyway, and the sorrowful character is enhanced by the variegated tempos and tucks, and of course the brilliant lead guitar work.

“Kiss The Ground” has a raucous, charging movement and a campaign of delights that fulfills the journey. There are two short pieces then, “I Have Failed You,” a sort of punk-like song, and “Completely,” a beautifully light interlude. And then the final push of “Zero Growth” and “Final Cut.” The music, especially the last two tracks, is complex and at times dense. There might be a tendency, too, to get lost in the narrative because it is content-heavy and compelling.

The best approach is to listen the album straight through the first time without thinking about it too much because the music is great. Go back and ponder it all on the second pass. I predict that on both listens you will like what you hear. Recommended.

Thūn’s II is out on Friday, July 1st through Eat Lead And Die Music. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://thundoom.bandcamp.com/album/ii

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ThunDoom/

Bull Elephant review at FFMB, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2019/11/15/bull-elephant-new-release-review/

Bull Elephant, Part 2 review at FFMB, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/08/13/bull-elephant-created-from-death-review-eat-lead-and-die-music-2020/

Eat Lead And Die Music, http://www.supermetal.net/

© Wayne Edwards

Thūn, II (Eat Lead And Die Music 2022)

Bull Elephant, Created from Death review (Eat Lead and Die Music 2020)

Working toward the big reveal, part two of the Bull Elephant mythological trilogy rises from the dead to shake you up.

Last year the secret band Bull Elephant released their self-titled album and started the generator of an emerging mythology. To recap, “Bull Elephant is the story of a slain African elephant that occultist Ahnenerbe SS attempted to bring back from the dead as a new form of battle asset. However, before re-animation could be completed it was intercepted by a mysterious witch-shaman, pursuing her own agenda and redirecting the undead creature’s purpose.” Back again now for Part II, the story gets stranger.

The story (or maybe just the environment) this time is teased by a journal entry. “I wept at the pain of loss for my child destroyed. But now he is born again; created from death as once he was, yet in a new form. He will be safest under the protection of the ape. As for myself, I can feel the end is near. The coming world war will be fought both in conventional theatres and as a secret war for control over a cosmic power that neither side fully understand. – Journal of Olivia Parnell, 23 August 1939.”

What happened to the elephant? It was destroyed at the end of the last album and resurrected/reconstructed in human form and placed in the care of that ape (see the cover image). There is a lot more going on here. The bird’s eye view of the story is, “As with the debut album, think of the background concept as Raiders of the Lost Ark set to a doom-tinged heavy metal soundtrack where Judeo-Christian mythology is replaced by the even more sinister universe hinted at in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft…with Nazi zombies, assault wolves and a battle-armoured whale that makes Moby Dick seem tame.”

The story is mostly lost on me, but the music is still there. The lyrics to the songs are interesting and engaging, and I prefer to take them as separate pieces even if they do fit together into some greater whole.

“Created By Death” opens this episode on a very cosmic doom note. The vocals alternate between death-metalesque growls and mid-heavy clarity, which captures the essence of the theme well. “Oneiromantic Rites” has many quiet and calm moments, but the gravity of the menace is never far removed. The fury picks up in the next song, and falls away again with a gentle outro. The entire album has this unsettling pulsing pattern that keeps you on the move in your head. The rumbling rhythm holds you on the path while the vocals and lead and riff guitar work propel the action and nuance. Towards the end of the set there is the spastic punch of “Perverted Science,” a two and a half minute guitar rampage followed immediately by “Escape to the Arctic,” a six minute epic-colored seafaring space opera. The closer is “Wayfarer,” and it has the feel of a song that is setting up the final movement, yet to come.

Available Friday, August 14, in corporeal form as well as digital, you can snap it up at Bandcamp. If you can follow the story, that’s great, but even if you can’t the music is a plundering dynamo that’ll ring your ears. Recommended.

Links.

https://bullelephant.bandcamp.com/releases

https://monsterworks.bandcamp.com/

FFMB review of the 1st Bull Elephant album, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2019/11/15/bull-elephant-new-release-review/

Bull Elephant, Created from Death review (Eat Lead and Die Music 2020)

Bull Elephant, New Release Review

The self-titled opener Bull Elephant (Eat Lead and Die Music) stormed onto my computer and stabbed me in the ears this morning. A metal band with a secret roster, Bull Elephant calls itself “hybridoom” on Instagram and “progressive doom” on Twitter. The music to me moves between what we have come to know as doom and branches out into death metal territory, with even a little speed in a couple of flashes and maybe a folk metal moment, too. This diversity of music styles in the same set by a single band speaks to the range of interest that fans have – we like lots of different kinds of metal.

Here is how the press release describes the album: “Bull Elephant is the story of a slain African elephant that occultist Ahnenerbe SS attempted to bring back from the dead as a new form of battle asset. However, before re-animation could be completed it was intercepted by a mysterious witch-shaman, pursuing her own agenda and redirecting the undead creature’s purpose.” Wow. How’s that for a concept to construct an album around?

Across seven songs, the concept is interpreted more in the music than even in the lyrics. The title song begins the rampage with a growling roar hurtling out of the darkness. This is doom. 40 seconds in there is a tempo change and the vocal goes melodic only to peal into rage a half a minute later. You get the sense of something wrong in paradise. These tempo changes are used in the next couple of songs as well, but in different ways to further the ideas of breakdown and change. Suddenly in the middle of the album “Corrupted Truth” launches a blast of speed that will loosen your teeth. The intermittent chaos is cranked up a notch in the second half, culminating in the closing song that sums up the whole affair, “Dread Reactor.” This final song has great hooks and the heaviest guitars, along with cascading percussion and deadly persuasive lead breaks. You can feel the zombie elephant stomping the terra – if you close your eyes and put your mind in right place, you can live in the middle of it. It’s a monster track.

The official release date is November 29, 2019, but you can check out a song or two ahead of time on YouTube. Bull Elephant is getting a lot of play in the office around here and it still sounds strong every time. Highly recommended.

Bull Elephant, New Release Review