Hey, readers! Tom here with something a bit outside of the psych that we usually cover here at The Third Eye Psych Blog, but it’s something that I think still fits into our standard fare. So, let’s jump right in without any further ado!
Thumos is an American instrumental post-metal act that uses the teachings of Plato to influence its music. It may sound strange that a band uses ancient philosophies in their instrumental music, but by doing so it adds a level of mystery to what they create, thereby leaving everything open to interpretation by each listener. They have a new album coming out on February 14th called “Symposium,” which is why we’re here today!
Having reviewed 2 of their previous full-length albums, I had a decent grasp on what Thumos does. Their last album was The Course of Empire, a collaboration with them and spaceseer, and it was a cool album overall. Before that, we had The Republic, an amazing album I reviewed for The Sleeping Shaman when it originally came out.
Now Thumos is preparing to unleash Symposium, an album that stands as tall as The Republic while simultaneously surpassing The Course of Empire. The songwriting is some of the best that Thumos has delivered to date, and the album drops the excess sounds that spaceseer applied to TCOE.
The first track I want to talk about is “Aristophanes,” my favorite song from Symposium.
I can only assume that this track was inspired by Aristophanes (c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme Kydathenaion. Aristophanes was a comic playwright or comedy-writer of ancient Athens and a poet of Old Attic Comedy.
No matter the influence, “Aristophanes” is a rocking tune. The interplay between the clean guitars and distorted ones adds a cool dynamic, and the bass and drums are put together with outstanding results, giving us some of the best drumming on this record.
Symposium begins with “Phaedrus,” which has a symphonic vibe throughout its almost five-and-a-half-minute runtime.
“The Phaedrus was written by Plato and is a dialogue between Plato’s protagonist, Socrates, and Phaedrus. The Phaedrus was presumed to have been composed around 370 BCE, about the same time as Plato’s Republic and Symposium.” (Paraphrased from Wikipedia)
As with any of the tracks on a Thumos album, I can only assume that this is the influence behind the song, but seeing a couple of phrases that are actually Thumos album titles leads me to believe that my assumptions are correct.
Up next is “Pausanius,” a perfect example of the post-metal that Thumos delivers. The riffs are excellent, heavy in the right places and mellow in others … slightly reminiscent of Sólstafir at times.
This one could have been influenced by a couple of people. One was the Spartan general Pausanius, and the other was an important Greek geographer by the same name. Based on the music, it could be either of these men, as there’s a cinematic feel that conjures images of traveling through unknown territories, and the faster parts could be the clashing of swords during battles or coming upon some danger provided by nature. No matter the influence, this is easily the second-best song on Symposium.
The last song that we are going to go over is called “Diotima.”
I’m going to say that this is about …
“Diotima of Mantinea is the name or pseudonym of an ancient Greek character in Plato’s dialogue Symposium, possibly an actual historical figure indicated as having lived circa 440 B.C. Her ideas and doctrine of Eros, as reported by the character of Socrates in the dialogue, are the origin of the concept today known as Platonic love.”
I think this is twofold, one being the direct connection to Plato’s Symposium, and the other is the beauty of the music itself. The first half is piano driven, a beautiful piece of music that brings about the idea of falling in love. An equally gorgeous guitar part enters at about the three-and-a-half-minute mark, further driving home the concept of love with the perfect person.
Thumos’ Symposium is, in my humble opinion, their best effort to date. The music is put together nicely and writing a review of any of their albums leads me down an educational rabbit hole. I enjoy learning about things I don’t know, and that enjoyment is doubled when it is inspired by cool music like this. So, head over to Bandcamp to listen to the first single, “Aristophanes,” and check out their other music as well! Enjoy!
This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.