Thy Worshipper are a Polish band with equal numbers of toes in the black, death and folk metal camps and a large number of line-up changes until we reach this, their second full length. It’s an odd album: Very nicely produced with a rich tone and attractive cover and a sound that in some respects is commendably difficult to pin down. Really though if you take the sound that Rotting Christ have used on their last three album’s, the rhythmic intros with female vocals and add in what sounds like throat singing and stretch that sound for the entire song you won’t be more than a stones-throw away. Add in world music influence and you’re closer.
The growled and snapped male vocals are excellent throughout this album, adding the feel of anger and passion around the superb ethnic sounding female voices and combining not unlike the twin sounds do on Aealo. These voices work well with the drumming too and the guitars and bass round out the sound and add that unmistakeable mid paced metal edge to the whole folk/ethnic recipe. Truthfully though it is the combination of the differing and complex vocal styles which carry the soul of the album, turning in a metal/folk cousin to Dead Can Dance’s Spiritchaser album.
Thy Worshipper have worked really hard to create a deep and coherent piece with this album and in some respects I think that may be part of the problem I have had with it. Whilst I love the sense of atmosphere that the warm bass heavy rhythmic sounds that the template here creates, the success in this feeling of one track being part of the whole has been realised so well that their separate identities have been seriously smoothed over. It is rather frustrating as on the one hand you have a band who have worked hard and with vision to create something a little different and intense, but I wonder if this attention to the project as a whole has caused them to miss some of the detail that makes individual songs, well, songs. For me there is little sense of travel within the tracks. They open as intros and continue in the same vein as though threatening to build to the point where it breaks into fresh areas but rarely does. It’s frustrating as a reviewer because not only do you get the real impression that there is something actually superb fighting to get out to my ears, but that to the band’s ears and I suspect to a great many others that is exactly what has happened; it has got out but has somehow passed by me.
It’s tough to nail down.
However if I take it as a mood piece it is highly transportive. It does take me to that bleak and battle torn image on the cover with a rare ease that shows the talent here as well as the success of the sound as a whole. It is an album I can put on and just let myself be shifted to that world even though I may not come away humming individual melodies. And that has to be regarded as a success in many respects.
In the end all I can say is anyone into pagan and folk metal, particularly if you’re coming from the Negura Bunget end of the spectrum should at least give this a listen as it is a rarity; an individual voice in a world of copycats. I am going to keep trying with it as it is also the kind of album that you keep thinking if you just put in a little more work as a listener you will reap the rewards and it does encourage that kind of dedication. The flaws and difficulties I have experienced need to be put in context with the beautiful feel of the album as a whole and the exemplary vocal performances. Nothing here is bland and in that context what we have with Thy Worshipper is potentially a powerful and moving voice that even with my issues is still better than many. I hope they return even stronger soon.