Thaw has been called post-black metal, and one can discern elements of noise, ambient, electronic experimentation and free concert improvisation in their works, as well as sludge and doom metal. The musicians shrug this off. They stress the collectivity of their work, their varied inspirations, and their preference for hiding their identity behind initials. On stage, they appear hooded, often with their backs to the crowd.
The band was formed in 2010 in Sosnowiec. Its main composer is Artur Rumiński, an experimental guitarist, known, among other things, for his cooperation with FURIA (a band with whom Rumiński released one of the best albums in Polish heavy metal in 2014). In an interview, the artist said:
I’ve never been strictly a metalhead, and I've never thought about how one should behave on stage(…) I have always tried to listen to different types of music, and when I got hold of a guitar I wanted to see how to play metal, how to play jazz, how to play reggae…
Rumiński lived in New York for five years, where he joined a hardcore band called Caught In A Trap. He also put together his own band there, Sun For Miles, and after his return to Poland he played with wSzaniec and performed concerts with Tides From Nebula. He also recorded experimental solo material for Wounded Knife Records. Rumiński is keen on using guitar effects, and seems to try to escape conventions at all costs.
Thaw's first vocalist was Maciej Śmigrodzki, who also plays bass and synthesizers. Over time, Piotr Gruenpeter took over the microphone and became the third pillar of the band responsible for the noise and the moog. He played bass for Searching For Calm (whose vocalist is Michal Maślak from Fair Weather Friends). He played with Rumiński in Sun For Miles and the pop bands Holly Blue & Soundpetersburg, whereas Rumiński and Śmigrodzki have their own drone-folk band, ARRM.
Thaw’s first material, recorded as a duo, was Decay. Two years later they released the Advance EP as a quartet. In the spring of 2013, their first, self-titled album was released by Italian studio Avantgarde Music, and it proved to be a turning point. The wildness of their first recordings faded, and the music slowed down and grew heavier, while giving way to more spacious pieces. Thaw worked also on their sound. Piotr Gruenpeter explained it in an interview for Violence-online.pl:
The album was recorded quite quickly (…) It took much more time to produce it. We wanted to put a lot of things into the second and third set (…). For me, personally, it was essential to avoid the sterility of production – ubiquitous in the metal world. Getting it dirty, but not spoiling it.
In autumn, while recording their third album, Thaw published a new track, Dak, on a split album with Kraków group Outre. The following summer the band released another split record, featuring the 14-minute-long Earth Grounded, with an even longer production of Echoes of Yul.
In 2014 Thaw was joined by a second guitarist, Krzysztof Kurek, an acquaintance back from Sun For Miles, and there was a change of drummers as well. The newly expanded band recorded a very well received album, Earth Ground, released in autumn by Polish label Witching Hour. They also re-released Thaw's older recordings.
The band has performed at Asymmetry festivals in Wrocław, Off Festival in Katowice and Metalfest, amongst others. It supported acts such as the vocalist Jarboe and bands such as Altar of Plagues, Juicifer and Behemot. In May 2015, it is to make its debut at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona.
Author: Jacek Świąder, May 2015
- 2010 – Decay
- 2012 – Advance EP
- 2013 – Thaw
- 2014 – Earth Ground