Album Review: Eagle Twin – “The Thundering Heard”

Eagle Twin - The Thundering Heard

Eagle Twin are back with a giant slab of blues fueled doom that is sure to satisfy.  The Thundering Heard delivers the goods in a big way and has me reminiscing about the doom revival in the aughts that captivated my listening when I started paying close attention to modern metal.

In  2009, Eagle Twin debuted the magnificent, The Unkindness of Crows. The Salt Lake City based two man wrecking crew (Gentry Densley & Tyler Smith) distilled the raw organic materials of much of what I loved in sludge, doom and stoner metal with adventurous experimental drone and even elements of free jazz that touched on bands like Sunn O))), Neurosis, Thrones and Boris. Their sophomore effort, Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale brought minor tweaks to their unique doom / drone hybrid. So when I heard Eagle Twin was releasing a new album after six years, I was curious to see how the new album would stack up amid the array of death and blackened doom / sludge that has absorbed much of my metal listening since 2012. I’m happy to say, exceedingly well!

The Thundering Heard is a massive sounding intersection of doom and blues amazingly created by two lone electric wizards.  This is their shortest album with four tracks clocking in at about 41 minutes. “Quah Un Rama” comes out of the gate with droning vocals and a simple but effective bombardment of  mountain sized riffs. “Elk Wolfv Hymn” brings in some of the roots rock(ish) influences prevalent on their first release. It’s a slow burner of a track that morphs into their trademarked blend of organic, tribal sludge. The album climaxes with the the one–two punch of “Heavy Hoof” that bleeds into the 14 minute doom monstrosity “Antlers of Lightning”.

So, how does The Thundering Heard compare to the first two albums? True to its namesake, it sounds like a stampede. The avant elements are somewhat less pronounced, and the blues influences are pushed into the foreground. There are still “weird” left turns that filter through, but this is a more streamlined, aggressive Eagle Twin retaining their core sound and releasing their most accessible album to date.  It’s also one of their heaviest. The lyrical content — always a point of interest with Eagle Twin — is nature based. But, this isn’t a babbling brook, navel gazing album about the beauty of nature. The Thundering Heard is all power, heft and rage bearing witness to the destruction of our natural world.

Back in 2009, The Unkindness of Crows sounded like black lava oozing down a mountain, constantly changing shape, oozing into different textures. The Thundering Heard however is a full on metal assault. I hear the ghost of Paul Bunyan carving valleys into the mountainside with his mighty ax in a barbarian roar. Credit has to be bestowed to Gentry Densley, one half of the Utah duo who makes his own guitars that he plays through tube amps that he also builds. The organic guitar tone he creates is something to behold. Low end fuzz lovers take note.

Eagle Twin
Eagle Twin – photo courtesy of Russel Albert Daniels

This is a doom album meant to play loud. If you like doom, sludge and stoner metal, you need this. But, if you’re a doom fan, I’m preaching to the choir. Now, everybody else needs to get on board. Eagle Twin have released an immensely satisfying and heavy album with The Thundering Heard and it should appeal to fans across the spectrum of metal and beyond.

– Mark

The Thundering Heard is available now on Southern Lord. For more information on Eagle Twin visit their official website.

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