JOHN TRON DAVIDSON
Doom's a tough gig. Play the riff for too long, it's boring; not long enough, and you risk alienating the worshipers. Walking this tightrope are Bournemouths' THUUM, a quartet of amp-champions with a singer called Bear and a record called Through Smoke, Comes Fire.
From the chanting, hanging instrumental ‘Intro’ that births this four tracker, THUUM are right on the line between being too long and just long enough. Well produced and with the interplay of a band who've trodden a few boards together, ...Fire isn't short on weight or feeling, with the drums in particular being brilliantly slack and worthy. The instrumental carries itself well across its 5 and a half minute span, and the bellow that begins 'Worthless' is large and healthy.
However, and it genuinely pains this reviewer to say it, 'Worthless' is too long. There's nothing wrong with an 8 minute track, and the melding of old-school lead work, munching, hefty guitars and fluid bass work is proper, but it could have whole reps cut out and lose nothing. Shifting as they like from one thing to another, THUUM linger on some riffs a couple of reps too far, and some sections could do with losing a few pounds.
That said, 'Hafgufa' shows what ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY might have been like if they'd been heavier and any good, tipping its hat to Mr. Hammet for the solo. The high register vocals were a genuine surprise after all that growling, flicking a spoonful of MASTODON through the air and resulting in a corn-beef-compact tune. Closing out with the title track, THUUM acquit themselves pretty well, slinging some understated harmonies and building their fortress nicely.
Again though, that first lead riff gets a serious flogging before the song gets underway, and the momentum of buckles slightly. There's an almost feminine quality to the double-tracked high vocals this time, which is much a compliment as it was refreshing, as it put the track, and the band, in a different light. If this writer was really sticking his neck out, there's a side to this band that isn't been fully explored yet; an epic, mournful side that owes more to the feel of CANDLEMASS than anything else. It would be marvellous to see this pushed further - the weight here is not the issue, but there's more in this band than evidenced here.
That's the thing. We take it for granted now that when a band come out with a record that they're fully formed, that this is all they've got to offer, because not everyone gets a second record or a second chance. With this being their debut recording, it's obvious that there's a greater depth to THUUM than this. That grandeur needs time to develop but once it does, they'll be really something. A promising start.
Through Smoke, Comes Fire
Bear - Guitars & Vox
Joe - Drums
Andy - Guitar
Luke - Bass
For more information about THUUM check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thuumuk/