Thaw – Woman is the Earth

Sometimes, I have to search to find new bands to review, other times the band themselves send me a request, and a few times a band crawls up out of the abyss and drags me in. Such was the case with Woman is the Earth and their 2017 EP Thaw. A few weeks ago, I hadn’t heard of the band and all the sudden they appeared in nearly every “best of…” lists, groups, and articles I saw. I put off listening to them because, well, I had too many bands and albums and projects I had to listen to. Finally, though, I listened to Thaw. I can see why it become so popular in such a short time. Too, I can see why it seemed like such a polarizing album (as all good albums seem to be). Thaw only lasted nineteen minutes but in those nineteen minutes a lot can be learned and enjoyed.

The first few minutes I listened, I have to admit up front, I didn’t like. It wasn’t as if the music was bad or ill-produced, I just… didn’t like it. I’m not sure what it was that made me dislike it but whatever the feeling was dissipated after a few minutes and the enjoyment of Thaw began.

The sound, music and production, is very chaotic. Not in the raw, fuzzy sense, but in the “so much going on it’s hard to focus on one thing” sense. It grew on me, reminding me a lot of the old Abigor sound from the 90s and the first couple of Wolves in the Throne Room albums. Woman is the Earth is following in strong footsteps with those comparisons, I think. The atmosphere, though chaotic, is very ethereal. Ominous and sinister. I think the chaotic nature of the album lends something to the narrative of the album. What exactly is that narrative? With album titles “Golden Fog,” “Fear the Light,” and “Dream Collapse” we can gather that the album’s narrative is vague esoteric and ritualistic with a psychological tale rather than a physical one. A nineteen-minute EP, in terms of literature, is the equivalent of a short story or a novelette. Telling a story in such a short amount time is not easy but often they are richer with meaning than a longer novel. Thaw is a journey, as many albums are, a sort of coming of age, out of the darkness and into the light, but that light is something else, something sinister. The normal trope of “light is good” is subverted on Thaw. The Light is the evil force, a cloudy force bend on control and domination. Like all good short stories, there isn’t a real, solid resolution to the tale but the reader/listener can draw their own conclusions.

Musically, the album is too chaotic and all over the place to be catchy, but Thaw is still very enjoyable. I loved the ending of the album as the sound shift from atmospheric black metal to a sludgy doom metal with riffs that reverb and echo into the massive atmosphere that the album had built up. The album feels very alive, very organic. The music doesn’t have any sort of discernable structure, the riffs and melodies sort of just appear and then disappear. It’s natural. I suppose the name of the band itself as something to do with that.

Woman is the Earth is not a new band but their new to me. Thaw was good. Thaw was short but it was full of meaning. Enjoyable and thought-provoking, Thaw belongs in lists with Diadem of 12 Stars and Nachthymnen as a sort of successor or apprentice. After this album, I think I’ll be paying much more attention to Woman is the Earth from here on out.

Highlight: Dream Collapse
For Fans Of: Wolves in the Throne Room, Bölzer, Panopticon

WomanistheEarth

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Woman is the Earth’s Facebook Page | Woman is the Earth’s Official Page | Thaw Available on Bandcamp

  1. Golden Fog
  2. Fear of Light
  3. Dream Collapse

Thaw was released through Init Records on June 23rd, 2017

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