It’s been six years since Eagle Twin’s last album, The Feather Tipped The Serpent’s Scale, but this is a band that does everything in its own sweet time. And it seems little has changed in their approach to music over the years, for The Thundering Heard is every bit as elemental as what has gone before. There’s something quite cyclical about this work, containing as it does the track Heavy Hoof, the first song they wrote, back in 2006.
It’s hard to imagine that a mere duo can pack a sonic punch so colossal, but Gentry Densley and Tyler Smith conjure up waves of claustrophobic rumbling riffs that are simply awe-inspiring. It’s as if they’ve taken Entombed’s Wolverine Blues and stretched it beyond the point of elasticity.
If there’s been a progression in the band’s sound, it’s that they’ve perhaps streamlined their influences a little. The four songs presented here are still the long and winding epics that Eagle Twin are known for, but the band seem more focused and direct this time around. The Thundering Heard mixes elements of doom, sludge, blues and improv jazz (yes really) throughout, but in the hands of Densley and Smith, the result is a surprisingly direct sonic crushing.
The album might well be the equivalent of a pagan shaggy dog story that takes you over hills, dales, babbling brooks and an occasional stile held together with twine, but Eagle Twin’s elemental approach means that no matter how long and winding the journey, there’s a primacy that is only ever within touching difference. There are moments when the band threaten to wander into jazz odyssey territory (the solo segments of Quanah Un Rama for example), but they’re always quickly pulled back into line by returning to the simplicity that lies at the heart of the song.
It would be tempting to suggest that Eagle Twin favour a back to basics approach, but that would imply that they’d ever moved away from basics in the first place. There’s definitely some impressive exposition here (the mid-section of Heavy Hoof sounds like Led Zeppelin playing on the side of an erupting volcano), but the power of the riff always keeps the band on track, ensuring that the thunder gets heard.