Thornhill – 13
For Fans OfNorthlane, Void of Vision, Belle Haven.
SummaryThornhill are a great band that you'll be hearing a lot of in the future (touch wood).
In the same way that your mid-twenties male friend with a top knot & straggly beard combo and a longing to travel the world (read: Europe) on nothing but a backpack & his parent’s money in order to find himself, Melbourne’s Thornhill are also in search of themselves. Only in their case, there’s fewer hostel shenanigans and unprotected sexual encounters involved, with far more riffs and melodies to be had.
Thornhill are a very young band, having only played their first show just a few short weeks back. Regardless of their age, they’re a band that shows immense promise. They have a quality sound already down pat, and it’s one that bleeds the lines between melodic-hardcore and the progressive metalcore style of someone like Northlane.
The insatiable lust for groove this band demonstrates on a track like ‘Outcast’ is enough to get those jimmies rustling as the song bounces along to tightly formed drum beats and hammering guitar riffs. It’s a crushing song and one where the band’s love and influence of progressive and nu-metal bands shine through in what is a great emulation of Crystal Lake & Northlane. And that’s saying something coming from me, seeing as I haven’t liked anything that latter band has done since 20-fucking-11.
‘Tunnel Vision’ is without a doubt the band’s best track, with the vastly melodic, melancholic vibe it carries. Of course, just because it’s not necessarily the newest sound on the airwaves isn’t any reason to dismiss it. It’s still a powerfully written song with immense depth and structure that take many a leaf out of Belle Haven’s incredible playbook, with a huge wall of sound centred around gently picked guitar interludes and swaying verses. Likewise, ‘Patterns’ has an amazing intro and verse that displays all the hallmarks of a Norma Jean song, before it launches into an Architects themed breakdown before doing a full circuit and using that same style switcheroo once more. I loved both of these parts, but I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t even listening to the same song anymore, despite only having travelled thirty or so seconds down the fifth dimension that is time. I found those two different sections to simply wash over me as the song moved between tight, crushing breakdowns and ambient, drone-like hardcore verses. In absolutely no way because they were forgettable moments (I think this paragraph is evidence to the contrary, really) but I was quite thrown off by these transitions, and not really in the best of ways.
However, the song that potently mixes the band’s various sounds together is the EP’s finale, ‘XY’, which features a guest spot from Void Of Vision vocalist, Jack Bergin. It blends those tightly formed grooves and guitar riffs of bands like Weststreet (ha, get it?) with that melodious-tinged sound of other tunes like ‘Tunnel Vision’ and the beginning of ‘Days’. Sure, there were parts that felt a little disjointed, such as the surprise double kick pattern halfway through. But even so, it’s clear the band seemed to really push themselves to not simply fall into varying styles but to instead mix them together for a coherent, bouncy yet spacious song that serves as a great end to an equally great EP.
Now, to what I said before that Thornhill “bleed the lines” between that melodic driven hardcore sound and that signature metalcore shindig of Southroad (do you get it yet!?). My one gripe with ‘13‘ is that it begins to bleed a little too much, much like your mid-twenties male friend’s genitals after he comes home from that aforementioned world trip (again, read: Europe). The best example is opening track, ‘Days’, which pulls this 180-degree-shift from your typical hardcore jam into an almost progressive breakdown section. Both sections are incredibly well executed and written, but I couldn’t help but feel they were somewhat tacked together in an effort to highlight the band’s sonic diversity. For me, it created a rift between myself and the EP, one that disrupted the flow and energy of the whole experience.
Again, ‘Tunnel Vision’ is the real stand out here because of how goddamn well it aligns itself with not so much a particular formula or genre, but rather an overall vibe and aesthetic that sits somewhere between hardcore, ambient and drone. Which is just fucking superb, might I add.
So for clarity sakes, it isn’t that I don’t appreciate diversity in a band’s music, it’s more so that there’s an aspect to ‘13’ that feels somewhat… forcefully diverse, forcefully glued together in a way that doesn’t resemble a natural progression and flow. Now, that part sounds pretty damn negative but it’s only because I really do love what this band is doing and I only want to seem them become an even better band!Conclusion
The way I see it, the boys in Thornhill can move into a few different directions from this point. They can stick with their Belle Havenesque brand of hardcore or they can follow the path of bands like Eastavenue (please tell me you get it by now or this joke is an utter failure!). They could very well continue to refine their sound to find themselves writing cleverly crafted tracks that take nuances from both sides of the coin. Or they can stick to their guns and continue their current method of moving from one style to the next whenever they please. Whichever way they go, I am more than positive that they’ll deliver the goods because these dudes only have room to grow and improve from here on out. DO NOT sleep on this band!Tracklisting