Thou are a doom/sludge metal band from Baton Rouge in Louisiana and they have been operating as one of the more unique and better bands in the whole sludge/doom metal genre for nearly a decade now. Argueably one of their best albums in recent years has been Heathen, which they released back in 2014. One could say this album strayed far away from the generic and usual sludge/doom that is released in huge batches every year, and put forward something truly great. What is great about this particular release, is that it succesfully mixes some faster sludge metal riffage with slower doom battery, while still managing some fine heavily catchy riffs that almost sometimes fall into a realm of doomish noise rock with some fine noise-rock-like open string picking.
One doesn't have to look further than the first track of this great album to see what I am talking about. Free Will is possibly the best track on this album and combines some heavy no-nonsense faster sludge, with slower doom heavyness and yet manages to pull off a surprisingly catchy stoner doom/noise rock riff as well, that one could really listen to for hours on end. Following this are tracks like Feral Faun and Into The Marshlands, that put forward almost equalling greatness and portray a great dark and crushing atmosphere, with the latter packing another more up-beat great sludge riff as well. At The Foot of Mt. Drisskill on the other hand puts in some melancholic feedback filled dark doom heavyness, while the pinnacle of the album is the epicly heavy and crushing Ode To Physical pain, which finishes the album off well.
Heathen is possible the best Thou album to date and surely builds more expectations towards what Thou can produce on their next full album. Heathen however remains as one of the all-time best sludge/doom metal albums in my book.