Do you know the feeling when your day has been so shitty that you can already assume a sleepless night, which is going to strike you to death frustrated and pissed off again? I was in this mood and Tithe completely picked me up when I first listened to their debut album Penance and since then they have become a regular and adequate companion for me to get through the night.
Apart from a demo released in 2017, where the virtuoso mix of Grindcore and Doom was presented for the first time, the world didn’t hear anything else from the trio from Portland before. This is why the band quickly disappeared into oblivion again. But with the release of Penance at the latest, this should have changed for the band around Lord Dying drummer Kevin Swartz, because the record has really taken off and has guaranteed the band a solid, growing fanbase.
Only after a few seconds you know exactly that Penance allows you to expect absolute high quality Deathgrind/Sludge, which blows everything away. From front to back, instrumentally it sets itself apart from “regular” Grindcore. This tantrum here is simply unpredictable, consistently brutal and enthusiastic during the crushingly heavy parts as well as during the brilliant blastbeat passages.
While the riffing in the fast parts sounds extremely aggressive – and like an angry swarm of hornets – it often appears to be slightly psychedelic during the slower parts and thus promotes an inimitably fucked-up no future attitude. In general, the album is very captivating due to its consistently virtuoso touch and can permanently keep the listener in a good mood. A few of the songs are additionally provided with samples, which underline this rejuvenated desolation.
Otherwise the song structures are led by very distinctive drum playing, which determines the tempo as well as the intensity of the tracks and to whose respective level the remaining instruments adapt. The further you advance on the disc the more fascinating the seemingly endlessly creative drumming becomes. Without which this album would surely sound only half as interesting as it actually is. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a record where the drums have taken such a prominent role as they do on Tithe. Through several tempo changes that merge seamlessly into each other without exception, the trio manages to deliver well-balanced and varied songs that are well thought-through and never boring, both in the overall and album length.
The vocals are solid, but by no means special. However, they adapt well to the instruments without taking away their freedom of movement. To be more precise, you get to deal with nasty roars as well as wailing screams, which fits very well to the setting and makes it even more condensed. In my opinion, there’s no complaining about the production either, as it captures the massive sound 100% and lets it roar authentically and mercilessly harta us the speakers.
To sum things up, Tithe could somehow be described as a band that sounds like Death Metal-ridden Iron Monkey or Toadliquor during its sludgy parts, while the rabid blowing reminds more of bands like Lord Mantis. Be that as it may, this combination has it all and, thanks to musical diversity, also captivates through longevity.
If you liked to add Penance to your home collection, you will have to go through several distros to get another copy of the record and/or tape. Officially released, but meanwhile already sold out, the album is available via Tartarus Records.
With Penance, Tithe have released an incredibly interesting longplayer that will be one of the best debut albums in Grindcore 2020. If you like wide-ranging Grind/Sludge, which can inspire for a longer period of time and where you feel like you are being pulled into a bad mushroom trip, you should definitely have heard this release.