Words by Jordan Martich

When Louisiana-based DIY doom band Thou is together, listeners are in for a grand display of the group’s work ethic — a new album, splits, collaborations, and tours.

Thou’s impressive output is how they came to be known as the flagship band for interesting, heavy music in the DIY punk culture. Every venture they embark upon is done in an epic fashion, whether that’s making crushing, bleak albums that can run upwards of 60 minutes, playing benefit shows, or recording a slew of punishing Nirvana covers at a time.

This summer is no different for Thou: currently they’re on tour with the finest selection of artists pushing the boundaries of heavy music today: Cloud Rat from Michigan, UK’s Moloch and False of Wisconsin. “We’ve toured with each of them individually before,” says Josh Nee, drummer for Thou. “We’re all really close friends and we got to the point where, if we’re going to spend this much time out, then we want to do it with people we enjoy hanging out with, so we set out to put together a monster tour.”

In 2014, Thou released an EP titled The Sacrifice, appeared on Robotic Empire‘s In Utero: In Tribute Nirvana compilation, debuted the first of their collaborations with Portland’s the Body, Released from Love, and still found the time to put out their fourth full-length Heathen, which set the bar for well-crafted, well-defined concept albums. Their body of work very much speaks for itself both in size and quality. Each release or pattern of releases carries the band further into the unique blend of macabre profundity that’s become the baseline for Thou’s identity, while also expanding into new themes and melodic ideas. Integrating acoustic segments, clean choral singing and experimenting with atmospheric tones on Heathen introduced a refreshingly subversive arrangement of music to a genre that continues to grow stale. Now, in writing their upcoming LP Magus, the follow-up to Heathen, Thou strains to outdo themselves.

“Bryan has this fixation of out-Heathen-ing Heathen with every aspect of this record. It’s like a specter on the horizon,” says Nee. “You just write what comes up and we’re all very happy with it at this point.”

On tour, Thou will perform a set consisting mainly of songs from Magus, which will be recorded in the fall and released sometime in 2018. This LP will be the third in a conceptual series of albums devised by singer Bryan Funke, the first two being Summit (2010) and Heathen.

While their output is abundant, songwriting takes a significant amount of time for Thou because every release needs to outweigh the last. “We really take our time in the studio to get it right, which I enjoy that process,” says Nee. “There are enjoyable things about both and as much fun as we’ve had writing for the smaller releases in the past couple years, we ourselves have been waiting to dig into this new LP for a long time now.”

Thou, Cloud Rat, Moloch, False, Negative Standards
Oakland Metro Operahouse
July 15, 2017
7pm, $15

Jordan Martich is a writer and musician living in Oakland. He drinks too much coffee and doesn’t go to the beach enough.