It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with Tithe’s Penance.
There has been a lot of good grinders this year and my little column has not been keeping up. Life happens but that is my fault. Hopefully, you have been finding things to satiate that blast beating fix. And this we are bringing you something that’s longer than six seconds.
Tithe is not a typical grind unit. The Portland, OR three-piece fuses grind, sludge, and progression into a dizzying attack. Penance is the band’s debut full-length, following a 2017 demo. Some of you are probably already privy to this band. If not, let us dive in.
Penance is an exploration of deprivation and the psychedelic experience of human nature. And once one starts listening to the music, it comes together quickly. “A Single Rose” kicks the album off ala old school grind. No frilly intros, just straight to the blasting. And plenty of bands take that approach. However, as it seems like Tithe is going to sustain the attack, and sustain they do for some time even bringing out a little bit of a powerviolence feel, the track becomes a filthy, sludge addled stomper that ends on a heavy, but melodic note.
Tithe’s game is constantly shifting. Much like a psychedelic experience, songs morph between genres. “Scum”, which uses a quote from the 1998 film Happiness, starts out on the sludgier end of things and quickly morphs into a grinder that flirts with thrash here and here. It almost sounds like its channeling Misery Index or Wake during points. And as the song moves forward, it gets progressive, before falling into that sludge once more.
Other tracks like “Palindrome” are total throat tearers. “Palindrome” is one of the hardest tracks on the record, and for the first thirty the band is furiously deathgrinding away before breaking things down only to get right back to business. The second half of the track takes it slower but does not turn down the rage.
The final track is the slow burner. Soundclips about drugs and depression play over a chunk of the beginning and end as the band plays over them like it is soul violence. It has a Fistula or Dystopia vibe to it: hopeless and crushing. The track moves into a fast pace as it builds but brings it back down again, fading away.
Penance is a killer debut from Tithe. The musicianship is incredible, and the band demonstrates track after track that they have mastery over their sound. Grindheads and even those not into grind have a lot to dig through here. Get grinding on this one!