With the release of their 2019 debut full-length album The Dark Pool, Australian newcomers Thornhill set out to make a mark in a heavy music scene that often lags behind in terms of innovation. The band’s previous material (especially their Butterfly EP from the previous year) set the anticipation alight for The Dark Pool, and needless to say, the sentence was delivered. If it wasn’t for the COVID-19 pandemic, Thornhill would have been Stateside two years ago, but now the band is here playing to huge crowds alongside Dayseeker, Holding Absence, and Caskets.
It all seems so easy when you’re armed with exceedingly talented and young songwriters and musicians. Vocalist Jacob Charlton is already one of the scene’s most electrifying talents, with a versatile and distinct voice that’s impressively still developing. If you’ve listened to the band’s recent single “Hollywood”, you know what I’m talking about. Despite the fact that Thornhill’s new material sees the vocals pushed back in the mix (a stylistic choice you’ll get used to over time), Charlton’s vocals are an intriguing contrast of ebb and flow, with simply massive range. Thankfully, Thornhill are adept at weaponizing this obvious talent and making sure he’s a known quantity. Of course, he could do it by himself most likely.
The Dark Pool is an album that really showcased Thornhill’s growth, both musically and artistically. Not relying on excessive breakdowns like many of their metalcore peers, tracks like album opener “Views From The Sun” exhibit an obvious Karnivool influence. Said track also has extremely impressive dual guitars and also contains punchy, extended riffs and tempo changes, proving Thornhill are simply ridiculous at building tension. Meanwhile, there’s also moments of intense emotion. Tracks like “Lily And The Moon” and “Where We Go When We Die” are nearly guaranteed to clutch your heart with feels, while the ending to “Human” makes you wonder if Jacob Charlton really does have an unlimited vocal range (probably). This makes for quite an engaging listening experience that will keep you coming back for more.
It’s Thornhill’s new material that has us truly excited, though. Again, the vocals and production are going to take some getting used to if you’re super familiar with the band’s previous work. “Arkangel”, besides being one of the coolest music videos we’ve seen in a while (directed by Jacob Charlton and Third Eye Visuals – fans of The Crow and Buffy will LOVE it), is a bouncy track that will get stuck in your head over time. To be quite blunt, it fucking rocks.
The lead single to their upcoming sophomore full-length, “Casanova”, is almost a deadringer for Muse’s mid-period material – but again, Thornhill manage to differentiate themselves from being a copy. With the drumming pushed up in the mix and an ending breakdown that might remind you of Every Time I Die a bit, it’s technically impressive from a songwriting standpoint.
With a blend of key influences across the music spectrum as well as a nostalgic visual art style, it’s tough not to be excited by the trails Thornhill are blazing. Much like bands like Static Dress that push the visuals to the forefront, Thornhill’s Muse and Deftones influences are also obvious, but never mimic either act. It’s truly music you can shake your tailfeather to – so are you #HornyFor Thorny yet? If not, you will be soon.