Alice in Chains classic 1992 album Dirt is the latest entry in Magnetic Eye Records’ ongoing Redux series, which re-imagines classic heavy album with cover versions by underground bands. With the September 18th release of Dirt [Redux] approaching, Louisiana doom outfit Thou have shared their cover of the iconic opening track, “Them Bones”.
The original song’s verses are built around Jerry Cantrell’s chugging riff — one of his best. That central riff is well suited for Thou, whose southern sludge transforms the song into a crushing piece of extreme doom.
“It seemed inevitable that we’d do another Alice in Chains song since their music was such a big part of [guitarist] Matthew [Thudium]’s and my formative years,” singer Bryan Funck said in a press release. “We had covered ‘No Excuses’ some years ago, but it never quite got the reaction I thought it deserved, and our arrangement was a slowed-down and kind of left-field take on the song. With ‘Them Bones’ we had a chance to tackle a song that more directly translated to our style. The song had been on my mind anyway; I had recently listened to a podcast that dissected all the tracks on Dirt and it really dawned on me that opening the album with ‘Them Bones’ was such a bold and cool move. No count off, no intro, just straight into the insanity.”
The ever-prolific Thou have been known to lay down a grunge cover or two, having already compiled their own compilation of Nirvana covers, Blessing of the Highest Order. No doubt, the Seattle bands have had an influence on Thou’s own output. Funck reflected on his earliest encounters with the alluring music of Alice in Chains. Hearing “Rooster” on a mixtape triggered an epiphany of sorts, forever leading Funck and Thudium down a path of heavy, dark music.
“I first heard Alice in Chains when ‘Rooster’ came on the radio, probably not long after its release, maybe late ’92 or early ’93 – I was 10 years old; just a kid listening to the local rock radio station and taping the songs I liked, making these poor quality mixtures,” Funck reflected. “I taped ‘Rooster’ and the following weekend brought it over to Matthew’s house so he could hear it. I remember going into his room and he was listening to the song ‘Connected’ by Stereo MC’s, who were a one-hit-wonder Madchester/Happy Mondays-type band. I put my ‘Rooster’ cassette in and his mind was completely blown. Neither of us had heard anything that heavy or dark yet – our favorite band at that point was probably Pearl Jam. Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit here, but I think that’s what set him on a path of listening to heavier stuff, as it was for me.”
In addition to the Alice in Chains cover, Thou are set to release their anticipated collaboration with Emma Ruth Rundle, May Our Chambers Be Full, on October 30th via Sacred Bones. If that’s still not enough doom for you, Magnetic Eye will also tackle Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4 for the next iteration of Redux.