Crate-Digging Quick Takes: Thou – Ceremonies of Humiliation


(Dead Tank/Vitriol [U.S.] / Bloated Veins [Europe], 2014)

Now we’re talking! I had no idea there was a local record label for little old me in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. Dead Tank Records, I salute you. Townies!

Got that out of the way, had to do it. Chill out.

So Dead Tank is part of a three-label crew, including Vitriol in the U.S. and Bloated Veins in Europe, releasing Thou’s 3-LP behemoth Ceremonies of Humiliation, which collects the band’s split-release and compilation output prior to 2010’s Summit. First, one question: have you heard Thou’s 2014 release Heathen yet? Because if not … why not? It’s so good – it’s one of the best metal records I’ve heard this year, and it’s on my 2014 shortlist already. The Baton Rouge–based doom/sludge/black metal band’s been around for a while, but they’ve really peaked this year. It’s an exciting year for them.

Now, for the real treat though: Ceremonies of Humiliation is going to look really, really nice on your vinyl shelf. Because you want – no, need to hear what Thou is slinging on some quality speakers. Tinny computer output or earbuds just aren’t going to cut it for Thou – that low end and deep malevolent throb need the warmth of the turntable’s needle. Take opener “Unmasked” for example – it’s a beautiful, short piece on guitar (or maybe bass, it’s low), the perfect warmup to the brutal shred of “Here I Stand Head in Hand,” the latter of which unfurls in movements that ebb and flow over eight minutes. And not to detract from the main metal event, but the interludes (“The Defeatests Lament,” “Reprise”) are beautiful and must be paid attention to.

Ceremonies of Humiliation is nothing if not heavy, and heavy. There’s nothing quite like the destruction “Smoke Pigs” lays in its wake – it’s one of the hardest, awesomest (yeah, awesomest) recording’s the band’s done, a ripping black thrash headbanger. “Don’t Vote” is probably the band’s funniest song, mainly because of the title, but also because of the sentiment of “We’re screwed either way we vote, so forget about it entirely.” Gallows humor! Love it. But Thou is in their element on the sprawling, lengthy workouts, and Ceremonies closes with two masterpieces, each over ten minutes long: “The Eyes of the World Are Upon You” and “The Song of Illuminate Darkness.”

Now, the specs: This bad boy comes as 3x180g LPs in thick reverse stock tri-fold jacket. And it looks totally swell. The first press limited to 500, so get yourself in gear. Preorder now, ships May 30! And fine, if you want the MP3s instead and can live without stunning sound, it’s available for free download from Dead Tank. Just don’t tell them I sent you to the bandcamp instead of the webstore. (They know where I live.) (Well, sort of.)

RIYL: Noothgrush, Ash Borer, The Body


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