Released: 2011, Black Bay Productions
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
“We are the edge of the biggest ride of the history. Is this the year when the cosmic clock finally runs down to zero days to zero hope? Deepest questions of our time are looking answers from the past. Facing alarming complexity. Vanishing species... or something? Thence is something from there. Just to feel the ambience of the surrounded world.”
The following thoughtful four lines above, have been taken from a 2-man band, Thence´s homepage. Where do those deep thoughts lead us then?
Well, we all need to look back in the past, 8 years back when the 1st fruitful seeds of Thence were sown in the cold ground. The idea about a band with big touching atmospheres were sort of on a sketch board for years until in 2009, things started to happen for this band, or project. The brainchild behind Thence, is Juha Sirkkiä (who plays guitar in Shade Empire), who teamed up with his other band mate in Shade Empire, Erno Räsänen (also in Winterwolf).
Thence´s music is kinda hard to describe in a few words only, as it meanders over different musical styles and genres freely – from rock, prog, metal, blues and even jazz music, creating a very interesting yet rewarding musical result that it makes it almost impossible to ignore the sound of curiosity knocking your head hard but gently about this lineup. What makes the band´s debut album, titled THESE STONES CRY FROM THE EARTH, even more interesting, is the fact there´s only one song on the record, clocking in at over 57-minute mark. The band explains this they did not originally intended to stretch their music the way they did eventually; it just happened that way as the music just started growing, and sort of getting expanded from one corner toward some extra corners in a natural way.
And they should not regret it a bit afterwards as what they did, in terms of creating something as massive and colossal sounding on the band´s debut recording, is actually quite a breath-taking journey to jump in – and letting the album´s multi-layered atmospheres carry you on towards those different musical worlds where you have probably visited a few times before, but probably rarely in this large and ambitious scale.
It took a couple of extra efforts from me personally to understand and digest fully what this album is really all about content-wise due to these two fine musicians´ brave goals adopted in so many different musical fields at the very same time. One can find several pieces of bands like Katatonia from Thence´s sound; some others can find its Pink Floyd-ish vibes from herein whereas obviously a bunch of people are able to hear influences from Porcupine Tree, Amorphis, Riverside, Anathema, Opeth and even Dissection (does the main guitar riffs sound like a slight rip-off from Dissection´s “Starless Aeon” song? I think it does) in the sound of Thence. The album bewilders, amazes, dazzles, thrills, provokes, salves and even may put you to sleep (need to confess openly it did happen to me a couple of times when I was listening to it in my bed, my ear phones on, but mark my words not because I got bored by the music but because I was simply dead tired).
The whole album is just packed with tons of variable, well-constructed atmospheres – from very calm and peaceful harmonic parts to more oppressive and violent moments (from the moments that even tend to cross some black metal, starting from the 41:22 min mark) – and what amazed me personally in the end, everything´s been delivered in a very professional and tasteful way. One cannot really say the band has taken any shortcuts to anywhere in terms of composing and building up the material for this release. In fact, the album has its extra strong and spicy moments when you stop to think for a moment how on earth they have actually succeeded in putting together such uncompromising moments that the album has, avoiding possible traps to fall into any sort of dullness and foreseeability.
It can be heard from everything the guys have taken their time to make this album such a pompous and adventurous wholeness, in which you are allowed to crush some musical boundaries around you, without feeling guilty for doing so. This sort of musical open-mindedness and adventurous-spirited musical experiments have truly paid off for them, resulting in a very pleasing yet successful sonic pleasure on this record all in all.
THESE STONES CRY FROM THE EARTH does not necessarily belong to any ´Breaking News´ category, but what a damn fine and truly enjoyable album it still is in its single entity, every second in it.