Tharsis They - Ominous Silence
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: January 7, 2012
Punishing and at times maniacal, Michigan’s Tharsis They has emerged as the latest follower of forward-thinking metal a la Converge with their full-length Ominous Silence. Sometimes fast, sometimes loud and brooding, the severed, mostly two-minute bursts of fury show a nod to the bands who have come before them without relying too heavily on anyone else’s ingredient list for their concoction. And while the sound is certainly easy to pinpoint in terms of origin, Tharsis They owns the destructive, entangled nature of their songwriting as if they have been doing it much longer than their existence suggests.
The thirteen tracks of Ominous Silence churn through frenzied hardcore and guitar-driven metal that steers clear of life-sucking production and plows full steam ahead at an album of furious numbers that hardly ever let up. Opener “Concentric Circles” harkens thoughts of Converge immediately, though vocalist Steve Muczynski’s voice leans more towards a hardcore bark than a throat-searing scream. The ever-changing trajectory of this track echoes throughout the record, as blasts of off-kilter rhythms morph into blitzing drums and blazing guitars at a moments notice. “Ire Motion” employs a stamping riff to draw you in before letting loose on a plethora of guitar melodies buried in the sonic onslaught of a breakdown, channeling a slight twang to the fits of guitar lines in the cracks of this path. It would be difficult to call this track catchy given its polar opposite nature to the word, but this is one of many moments that are tough to unseat from the back of your head once they are nestled inside of there. “White Walls for Ruined Eyes” manages to repeat the feat though, as the off-toned melody leading us into this track is strange at first listen, but easily becomes one of the more memorable riffs upon multiple listens.
Everything isn’t all breakneck tempos and unbridled abrasion though. “Concentrated Human Feeding Operation” is a droner that swings and unfortunately misses despite a solid opening riff that pokes back into the track later on, failing mostly due to being unable to connect the tension-filled dots with strong enough segues. Following that, we are pushed into “Hell of Boiling Oil”, a track with a familiar introduction before pounding a wide-open breakdown into our eardrums, sparkling the pummeling with the occasional moments of dissonant guitar licks. Delving into slower tempos here is both smart and for the most part well-executed, as it could have certainly been monotonous for the band to just stick to fast tempos and never dabbling in creating some slower brewing tension.
Aside from letting up to display their command of slower vibes that still require a hefty amount of grit, Tharsis They benefits from taking quick tangents into a welcome, if limited palate of sounds. “Self-Diagnosis” stands out with a break of beeping guitar melodies and a shot of clean vocals, bringing some much needed tonal variations to the mix, while “Water Runs Red” brandishes an off-kilter breakdown to smooth out the transition out and back into the track’s buzzsaw verses. There’s also a noticeable amount of electronic jolts to the record, with several tracks missing a powerful beginning due to the normally in-your-face starts to these tracks with attention-lacking robo-beats (“Mirrors Reflecting Mirrors”) that don’t limit themselves to only populating an introduction as “The True Concept of Being Clean” shows in its purely computed track space. There are certainly different ways to get a machine like Tharsis They started, but falling back on the oft-used electronics crutch just doesn’t equate to what should be an attention-grabbing introduction.
But in all fairness, Tharsis They sounds like a band who have already honed in on how they want to portray themselves as musicians. With a knack for drafting smoothly transitioning fury into often respectable tracks, it would be easy to say this band sounds extremely promising. Don’t be surprised if they start popping up even more as the year goes on.