Album review: Thornhill – Heroine

Post-hardcore quintet Thornhill step out of the shadows on cinematic second album, Heroine.

Album review: Thornhill – Heroine
James Mackinnon

If you’re only now joining the Thornhill story, they have just driven off a cliff into the unknown. The Melbourne group could have stuck with the route laid out by 2019 debut The Dark Pool, which performed well at home and singled them out as a darkly compelling metalcore act worthy of invited to tour with Architects and Parkway Drive. Instead, on second album Heroine, Thornhill have taken a hard left turn from the easy path and ended up somewhere far more intriguing and likely to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Take Arkangel. What begins as a Deftones-esque overload of searing guitars and thunderous bass played out in an Ibiza nightclub is suddenly snuffed out, tension building around a moody guitar line that puts you in a mind of a spy film, right when the hero realises they’ve walked into a trap. It’s no surprise, then, that Thornhill wrote each song here with a particular movie or mood in mind, reflected further in their music videos and lounge lizard stage suits.

Valentine’s trip-hop groove oozes the seductive decay of cyberpunk films. Meanwhile the title-track, inspired by Buffy The Vampire Slayer, blends ’90s guitar hooks and washes of dreamy synth that evoke the drama of a teenager dealing with supernatural forces and – worse – high school. There is also a touch of punk’s most archly flamboyant experimenters, AFI, in the way that string-laden instrumental Something Terrible Came With The Rain segues into Hollywood’s anthemic mix of industrial rock excess and broken dreams.

In an evolution similar to Creeper, Thornhill have quickly outgrown their early metalcore trappings in favour of a sound and aesthetic that is more lush, daring and fully-realised. Get in now, before they crash-land onto bigger stages.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Deftones, AFI, Loathe

Heroine is released on June 3 via UNFD

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