An entire new version of themselves

Another one of UNFD’s faster rising stars, Thornhill stepped directly into the national attention with their debut smashing into the ARIA charts three years ago on the back of tremendous support from peers and fans.

The Dark Pool challenged many metalcore tropes with the band’s thoughtful original take on the genre that focused on djenty riffs and melodic vocals, but rather than continue in a similar vein here, Thornhill have veered toward the 90s for their influences with Heroine. Maybe it’s the classic emo feel and faint The Cure-ness of opener The Hellfire Club or the Radiohead ambience that permeates through Blue Velvet, but this is quite a different band from the one that hit #20 on their first try in 2019.

Then, there it is – that first piercing note from Jacob Charlton on Leather Wings and it all becomes clear: Thornhill is channeling their inner Deftones here, and once you hear it, it’s hard to then NOT hear it, not just in terms of Charlton’s vocal but in the overall delivery from the band as a whole.

This doesn’t detract from the dynamics and pure songwriting clout that Thornhill bring to Heroine – and indeed this is a very good album – but it can be distracting. Within the churning riffs and syncopation of Casanova or the rumbling bass moves in Arkangel it’s less apparent, but Charlton’s cadence and style evokes Chino Moreno at many a turn. Particularly effective is Heroine‘s showcase track Hollywood, where the band piles on industrial overtones and atmospheric pauses while Charlton murmurs and soars as they build to a pounding nu-groove crescendo and subside again. With Raw Thornhill let go of the reins a little and indulge in a thundering churn and release that brings back a heavier side otherwise less apparent elsewhere. Elsewhere strings and synths flavour more reflective tunes like Varsity Hearts and the title track, both of which are placed at the end of the album as if slowly tempering the frenetic pace and spiralling melodies of the rest.

Thornhill have introduced an entire new version of themselves on Heroine, one that so often brings other bands to mind it can sometimes feel like a debut instead of a follow-up. It’s weird because, even if it’s difficult to see why they felt the need to go down this path, they pull if off extremely well and show what a talented bunch they are.

  1. The Hellfire Club
  2. Leather Wings
  3. Blue Velvet
  4. Arkangel
  5. Valentine
  6. Casanova
  7. Something Terrible Came With the Rain
  8. Hollywood
  9. Raw
  10. Varsity Blues
  11. Heroine