Thine, The Packhorse, Leeds; 29th August 2014

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Thine disappeared off the scene some years ago, but rocked back into our world this year with new album The Dead City Blue Print, which metalireland.com calls ‘a superb mix of dark accessible rock with amazing songwriting.’

Headlining at the Pack Horse this Friday night, expectations are high as the band have just come back from supporting the Devon Townsend Project at the Assemble in Leamington Spa.

Thine do not disappoint. Front man Alan wows us with effortless stage presence and easy confidence. There is much hair thrashing and monitor mounting. The crowd are singing along and the previously partly empty room is now packed.
‘Into the void’ starts with a beautifully melodic intertwining of guitars and bass with the drums building to some astonishing three part vocal harmonies in a crashing chorus. Thine are heavy in the same vein that Anathema are heavy; there is a bleakness to the words and a crunch and bite that is balanced by gorgeous, glowing melodies that make this band one of the most accessible without compromising their own unique style.

The band are tight and together, flowing with a practiced ease that belies the intricacy of the music. This gives Alan a firm base from which to fly; he knows his band has his back and he can engage the crowd with his slight flamboyance which draws you in.

It’s not just his stage style that impresses though; like every member of Thine, he is note perfect and dedicated to making this music sound good. Thine create a soundscape where although you can hear each individual instrument, none overbears and each contributes to a gorgeous wall of sound.

Running, from 2002 album In Therapy, kicks straight in and is more traditionally ‘rock’ than the newer offerings. The band prove without a doubt that these older songs have passed the test of time, and the test of having been put on the shelf and dusted off for a second outing.

The band are massively focused on their playing which leaves little room for ‘on stage banter’; of course Alan is the main focus so I wouldn’t expect the other members to be exactly jumping around! But they do give the impression of being there to do a job rather than doing what they love. It is mentioned though that they have been spoiled recently by playing on a much larger stage than the pack horse can offer! So perhaps it is the cramped conditions that give this impression.

New track Flame to the Oak carries a bleaker sound: crunchy, heavy and dark. Alan’s vocals step back a little to become one strand in the weave of this track which builds and builds then breaks down again with some enticing guitar melodies.

In Scars from Limbo, two guitars do a melody ‘play off’ before the vocals join in another dark and desperate sounding plea. When the drums kick in, this song is actually a bit generic; formulaic although very well executed. The song is saved from drudgery by Dan Mullins‘ expert touch on the drums with some interesting licks and the guitarist’s excellent feedback slide. Later on we can see this guitarist is doing some mental finger action which looks impressive but we can’t hear it! Bad times sound man, bad times…

The penultimate song has a lovely stomping start and a great melody; this is proper moshing music. The vocals are soaring and true as soon as they start. The three part harmonies make a welcome return- not many bands can pull this off live, but Thine excel at it.

Predictably an encore is demanded by a crowd frothing at the mouth. Thine don’t disappoint. The Rift has a hugely heavy start, dropping a touch lighter to let the vocals break through, then belts back in almost immediately. A relentless powerhouse of a tune.

All in all a triumphant return for Thine; it’s a small venue and a big departure from their recent gigs but they approach playing at The Pack Horse with the same energy and skill as they would any other venue. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, so yourself a favour and check Thine out. Good on CD; amazing live.

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