The Dark Pool
Named after the street on which they wrote their 2016 debut EP 13, Thornhill has roots that stretch back to high school, where vocalist Jacob Charlton and guitarist Ethan McCann met in math class. Perhaps that grounding helps explain the math-like time signatures they employ on The Dark Pool. Long touted as one of Australia’s most promising metalcore acts, the Melbourne quintet’s debut album reveals a band thinking beyond the genre’s boundaries—witness Charlton’s vocal gymnastics, which call to mind Saosin/Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green; the cinematic piano flourishes of instrumental “Netherplace”; and the guitar work of McCann and Matt Van Duppen.
The album’s title refers to a pool in which we can see our reflection and who we truly are, so it’s not surprising the LP’s themes delve into deep personal issues centered loosely around humanity. Anxiety and its impact on sufferers’ lives is the central tenet of “Coven” (sample line: “I’m under your bed, I’m in your hair, I’m in your lungs when you need some air”); “Nurture” plays with the idea of idolizing someone or something and losing a sense of self as a result, while Charlton tackles the notion of loss on “Lily & The Moon,” a song he wrote about his dog but which serves as a broad reminder to love those around you while they’re still here. Such lyrical depth is mirrored by the complexity of the music, oscillating between sweeping prog-metal atmospherics (“Red Summer,” “The Haze”) and feral, vicious musical stabs (the frighteningly brutal breakdown of “Coven”).