Melbourne’s own Thornhill have just released their second studio album “Heroine”, and the first word that comes to mind in describing it is “evolution”.
Much like many metalcore bands before them, Thornhill have gone into their creative cocoon as a great emerging metalcore band, and they have come out the other end as a very different version of themselves, taking on the sound of this whole new metalcore movement. And let me say, it is not a bad thing at all.
Having started out in 2015 as a bunch of high school buddies, Jacob Charlton (vocals), Ethan McCann (guitar) Sam Anderson (guitar) and Ben Maida (drums), and Nick Sjogren (bass) came together as Thornhill. Having such influences as The Amity Affliction and Northlane, they hit the ground running with their debut single, “XY”, being released in June of 2016 featuring Void Of Vision’s Jack Bergin. This was closely backed up by the full debut EP “13” in August of that same year. From that point, it was a stream of positivity, both in reception and achievements. In May of 2017 the single “Temperer” was released and the band also won Triple J’s Unearthed competition, giving them the opportunity to support Architects on their Australian tour. As well as supporting multiple other well-known metal bands across Australia throughout 2017, and getting loads of airtime on Triple J, this only increased their fan base. Matt van Duppen stepped in on guitar in late 2017 when Sam Anderson parted ways with the band.
2018 started off with a bang, with Thornhill getting to support Parkway Drive, and also signed to a new label (UNFD). It was under this label they released their second EP “Butterfly”.
October 2019 saw the release of “The Dark Pool”, Thornhill’s first studio album, which debuted at #20 on the ARIA charts. Following on from this Thornhill got to briefly tour internationally, and also performed at Download in Melbourne and Sydney before the unfortunate timing of the Covid pandemic shut the world down.
Fast forward to October 2021, and the first single, “Casanova”, from the impending next album was released. This absolute groove train of a track was a perfect first release to showcase the diverse direction this next album would take.
“Arkangel” would then be released in January of this year, giving a taste of what was to come for the change in overall tone and style.
Then came June 3, and the opportunity for all to hear the entire album in its full glory, and let me say, it is a cracker of an album.
“The Hellfire Club” kicks the album off, as it starts with droning, very brooding chords, then kicking into a heavy low tuned riff over some ethereal guitars, followed by a vocal performance mirroring other great acts such as Loathe and Deftones.. A very chill vibe throughout. A stand out of the track for me is the lyric, “ People stay much longer in my head than in my life so please don’t go again”
“Leather wings” wastes no time, kicking right into the heart of the song with punchy guitars and soaring vocals.The ending of the song is sure to get you moving in a mosh pit,
Starting with a stripped-back clean guitar sound is “Blue Velvet”. Then it kicks into a really groovy and moody bassline accompanied by more buttery smooth vocals before Jacob amps it up in the chorus.
“Arkangel” was the second single, and one of my personal faves. With vocals very reminiscent of Kareem France, and this new class of metalcore.
“Valentine” starts with some very different guitar effects followed by some almost hip hop beat stylings. The first song to feel a bit different than everything else on the album.
“Casanova” starts off with a riff coming into light with some compressed drums before kicking in full force. The vocals this time are not quite as spacey but a bit more in your face, but still retaining that distorted sound. This song has a very unique tremolo-like solo bit which was refreshing.
Instrumental tracks are fewer and further between these days, but “Something Terrible Came From the Rain” is a beautiful piece that really does take you to another place.
“Hollywood” is the third single, and kicks off with drums followed by some low bass and distorted vocals. This song is a return to the sound of other tracks like “The Hellfire Club”. Really great lyrics in this track. A great mix of straightforward vocal approach and spacey vibes. Very simple but bouncy riffs.
“Raw” has a very numetal-ish vibe most of the time then the bridge gets stripped back as if it gives the listener time to catch their breath before the pop/metal fusion like chorus,
With “Varsity Heights” the vocal sound, in the beginning, is almost like a phone recording, and that makes it feel like it is very personal and straight to the listener. Definitely has a different vibe from everything else. Then in the pre-chorus, it slips into the familiar djent/metalcore vibe from earlier. It all feels very fusion as if they threw all their influences in a blender in this track.
“Heroine” is the final track on the album, and has a great little guitar melody with some awesome drum work. The spacey vocals approach again, not dissimilar to Chino from Deftones. It’s a very moody emotional track. The vocal inflections and cadence on this are absolutely brilliant.
Overall a really great album, that these guys should be super proud of. Definitely a little different from their previous offerings, but it feels like a very natural progression that comes with the growth of the band. I would rate it a strong 8/10 and that’s only after a couple of play-throughs. I am sure as I get it on rotation I will probably find more and more to like about it that I’ve missed the first few times.