photo from Profane Existence
My Castle of Quiet has presented a remarkable variety of grind / punk bands as part of our ongoing live-music effort, and Through Thorn and Brier represent yet another highlight, another unique voice in the metal-punk hybrid subgenre, doing what they do not quite like anyone else.
It's obvious at first stroke that the band is serious and hardworking; their releases are direct, brief perhaps, and without one ounce of fat on them. The Good Grief EP is a bold, forthright, even "catchy" statement; 10 minutes of highly memorable wallop, and I find myself throwing it on often, and then pressing repeat a few x. The new LP (MLP? seems pretty full to me...) Failure Prone, sees the band still dancing with some short fist-pumpers, but also fleshing out their ideas across a few 6-7-minute songs that show off their abilities and still bring the darkness quite effectively ("Kicking Out The Coffin Nails" is a personal favorite.)
The most ready sonic comparison I can make, without thinking about it TOO much, is Cursed (a band I really loved in their heyday), but for more contemporary reference points, see Low Threat Profile, or Much Worse. I'm sure Castleheads (as they do) will gather their own impressions and reference points, but the reality is, of course, as with any really good band, that they sound like themselves more than anyone else—no band quite combines sly, sparing, articulate riffing with raw vocals and a "we're here!" throat-grabbing presentation like TTAB. This band has learned the value of quality over quantity, or giving the listeners a blood-boiling aperitif, delivering on the goods, but never overstating their case.
And the final kicker, the coup-de-grace? Through Thorn and Brier are from Hudson County, NJ, one mere Turnpike stop away form WFMU, and that means a lot, as one of the big reasons we're here is to present community arts, and on a personal level, I've been proud to present on MCoQ bands from Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. Catching amazing bands that pass through on tour is extremely rewarding, but there's an extra thrill when you're flying the banner of local talent. I don't follow football, so this is my version of rooting for the home team.
TTAB know how to write and execute a song with extreme prejudice, and are sure to be another unforgettable page in My Castle of Quiet live-music history.
I reluctantly leave the house sometime before midnight.
TTAB @ 12:30, 12:40 a.m. approx.
WFMU 91.1FM (NY/NJ)
WMFU 90.1FM (Hudson Valley)
in Rockland County @ 91.9FM
wfmu.org LIVE on the Web.