As my last review of 2015 this Belgian act has been around for a while and since their original hardcore/punk roots the band has evolved from those genres into something far more complex with this challenging and epically involved release. Categorising this act is nigh on impossible due to the twisting styles the band has stitched together for this second release in their new phase so to speak. There is a definite post-metal/rock vibe going on within the song writing that is percussively dextrous within the unfolding expanse of the album. Clean vocals were expected and delivered with crisp clarity even though the music is extremely challenging on all fronts and possibly soften the blow of the bands song writing affluence. Listening like a very long intro “Body Breakers” sets the tone for the aural wealth inherent within this release that continues with “Flower Bone Ornaments”. With a tamed drum beat and keyboard melody the tune adopts a middle eastern flavour backed by the percussive elements to exemplify that and similar to Orphaned Land for want of a better comparison as the band is very much in their own field.
The ambient almost shoe-gaze approach of the album hints at bands like Agalloch, Falloch and Alcest but without any surges in aggression as “Om Benza Satto Hung” which has an alluring trippy feel with effects weaving around each other with varying levels of loudness. Again the percussion is massive in terms of complexity as whispered vocals skirt delicately around and within the song creating an unnerving ethos especially when the distorted guitar fades in and tribal percussion is introduced. Slightly more accessible is “Bow And Silk Arrow” with its more traditional approach the song has a heavier guise but still extremely eerie as the tune is very like German band Black Space Riders whose music also is very challenging but very fulfilling.
Most albums have similar songs to each other but TBHR fit that approach like a square peg in a round hole as the pulsing tone of “Near To Fire For Bricks” includes charmingly poignant female vocals coupled to the whispered male tones and is heart rending. Parts of this album listen like The Ocean and Cult Of Luna due to the progressive nature and post-metal stylistically displayed though the metal components of TBHR reside much lower as on “Rust” which is energetic initially before reining in for an exotic melody that is completely beguiling. Closing this release is “Violent Love” a song steeped in umbrous shades via the sombre guitar tones and melancholic vocal delivery. The tune metamorphoses into something heavier momentarily before dropping swiftly back and adding female vocals underneath the male tones which again has a bewitching nonchalance I found totally enthralling.
If you have some spare cash and fancy splashing out on something truly dazzling and spectacularly challenging then give this a whirl but with the caveat that it needs to be listened to on your own, no interruptions from external forces, to truly capture the essence and mesmeric charm it holds.
(8/10 Martin Harris)