ALBUM REVIEW: Thou – Umbilical

As the summer in the Northern Hemisphere approaches, I always find a nice doom or sludge album really sets the mood for a day of yard work, or just sitting on the deck with a cold beer. The new album from Thou, Umbilical (Sacred Bones Records), may not fit that exact moment, but it certainly would fit in for after the sun sets and the flames rise in the firepits and the tips of our joints. 

The new full-length effort from the Louisiana six-piece will raise your heart rate and lower your psyche with a wall of cacophonous and unrelenting guitar riffs, thunderous drumming, and raspy vocals.

“Narcissist’s Prayer” jump-starts the album with a slow, ominous riff that opens up with a lead-in from vocalist Bryan Funck. The entire song keeps the same elephant-marching tempo until the end where it picks up a bit more while Bryan screams “It’s time to die!”

“Emotional Terrorist” is up next and is on a slightly more upbeat tempo and is a straightforward sludge song whereas the previous track was more of a doom track. Don’t fall for it though, the breakdown that hits in the second half hits like a brick wall which sees the guitar riff and drum pattern evolve up to the end.


“House of Ideas” is another early track on Umbilical that shows off more tricks for Thou as this one has a much more hardcore approach. Blistering guitar riffs, frantic drumming, and a sense of the song building up to the breakdown just hits different, and is so satisfying to bang your head to.

Finally, if you are looking for speed, “I Feel Nothing When You Cry” is an absolute ripper. The guitars are very familiar to the Gothenburg melo-death scene with similar drumming and sprinkles of punk seasoned around the edges.

Umbilical is one of Thou’s most adventurous works yet as they have proven again to be in a league of their own in the strange land that overlaps doom, sludge, and hardcore. Every song completely stands out across the nearly forty-nine-minute runtime across ten tracks. Each time I dig back into the record, I pick out more moments or riffs that pull from other influences as a nice nod to their roots. Louisiana has their fair share of heavy metal groups, even other legendary sludge acts, but Thou continues to fine-tune their craft and raise anarchy in the bayou.

Buy the album here:


9 / 10