Thornhill’s ‘Heroine’ review: Conventional song structures, begone!
07.06.2022

Thornhill’s ‘Heroine’ review: Conventional song structures, begone!

Thornhill
Words by Bryget Chrisfield

Although 'Heroine' is inspired by Tinseltown – particularly Hollywood and the band’s latest single 'Raw', which chronicles an actress declining endless requests from greedy fans/stalkers while negotiating her newfound fame – you can immediately tell Thornhill created 'Heroine' with blue-sky thinking and zero limitations. Conventional song structures, begone!

Opener ‘The Hellfire Club’s’ intro features sparse, menacing riffs that conjure images of Mad Max revving his Ford Falcon in preparation for some mortal car combat. “I fall so easily/ Won’t you stay a little while?” – vocalist Jacob Charlton flexes the upper extremities of his register during this one and we sincerely hope fans don’t try to sing along during live shows (unless they share Charlton’s elastic vocal range, of course).

The brutal dervish of ‘Leather Wings’, which closes out with maximum-terror screamo vocals, could probably open the gates of Hell. Ben Maida’s versatile drumming, particularly throughout ‘Blue Velvet’, grounds Thornhill’s sonic chaos and his “Big Stick Energy” Twitter descriptor is well earned.

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WOAH! ‘Arkangel’s’ full-throttle sludgy intro is so incredibly dense! Ethan McCann (guitar/production) has said this was the track that got his songwriting juices flowing again after a creative slump. The story goes that McCann decided to lay the demo over a video of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s intro credits and immediately felt compelled to complete the song as a score to accompany these visuals. Excited by this new creative process, McCann then continued working in this way. So if scenes from  Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, Singing In The Rain or American Beauty spring to mind while you’re digesting Heroine, that would be why. Heroine’s presser also reveals that another album track, ‘Varsity Hearts’, was informed by scenes from the hit ‘90s romcom She’s All That. To bring McCann’s cinematic compositions to life, Charlton penned lyrics that touched on themes such as “love, lust, self-reflection and loathing” – like mini-screenplays, if you will.

The way-less-heckers ‘Valentine’ sees Charlton almost crooning over atmospheric production and Nick Sjorgren’s prominent, sinewy bass lines. Standout track ‘Casanova’ – which boasts a demented guitar solo – careens and pogos like The Prodigy on a bender. After Thornhill noticed a lotta commenters pointing out similarities between this song and ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, the band decided to cover the Muse song for Like A Version (and nailed it!).

 

‘Something Terrible Came With The Rain’ envelops listeners in a string vortex before percussive flourishes evoke an old-school typewriter. It seems unnatural to feel such an intense level of dread just from this song’s closing plinks, but Thornhill’s tunes elicit real emotional responses from listeners. During the album’s closing title track, Charlton digs deep to portray obsessive devotion – “Don’t break my hea-art!” – and witnessing his ongoing evolution as an artist is a privilege.

Even those who don’t naturally gravitate towards metal will find plenty to go gaga over on Heroine. Thornhill cultivate a sexy, industrial edge not dissimilar to Nine Inch Nails and their execution is flawless.

Label: UNFD
Release date: June 3