Mostly Yelling #7: Thorn’s Debut EP Compresses Death-Doom Into Devastating Brevity
Thorn has all the hallmarks of death/doom without the song length the genre usually commands. Their debut EP The Encompassing Nothing spans seven songs and 19 minutes, though according to Thorn mastermind Brennen Westermeyer, that's entirely by design.
"For all of my projects, I really enjoy writing 'potato chip songs,'" said Westermeyer. "Songs that are so short, that you'll probably play it again over and over, because it ends so quickly. Like eating a bag of potato chips. I have a lot of powerviolence and grind influences, so I think I tend to lean toward shorter songs. With that being said, I also have some 4-6 minute long songs in the works, and others that are less than 2 minutes. A little bit of everything."
Westermeyer points out that Thorn's music is very much influenced by modern bands like Spectral Voice, Creeping Death, and Cattle Decapitation, all of which come out loud and clear in The Encompassing Nothing. The "potato chip" style of death doom is, to me at least, a newer one whose presentation of ideas offers a fresh look into the genre. All the gloom, the atmosphere, and the crushing weight of every riff are essentially present at all times because they have to be. There's not enough time otherwise.
Westermeyer said he wrote The Encompassing Nothing in about seven days, but took much longer to rework the songs into what they are. Lyrically, the songs touch on basically anything that'll drag you into the gloom.
"Overall, the themes are nihilism. Nothing matters. Nothing surrounds. Nothing encompasses. More specifically, I'm usually writing about witches, pagan rituals, Dark Souls lore, and etc. Anything spooky and depressing."
As far as his favorite song thus far, it's the opener "Chasms Of Rust", which Westermeyer added is "the most atmospheric and moody out of the tracks. It's short and simple, but I think that's why it's fun." Though really, you have time to listen to The Encompassing Nothing in its entirety without interruption.
Thorn is currently working on a full-length record, a handful of splits, and is basically just cranking out as much material as possible during the pandemic. You can grab a copy of The Encompassing Nothing over at Thorn’s Bandcamp.