Some astute readers may recall that we previously published a premiere for the Belgian post-everything group Thot back in 2019 with the performance video for their song “RHEIN.” That was an impressively pro package for what is essentially a DIY band, but DIY can imply a variety of things depending on which artist you’re looking at. It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been working in independent PR for five years now, and at this point I’ve seen the full range of the DIY spectrum. Some bands make great music together, but really need guidance when it comes not only to presenting themselves to their potential audience. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that – every band has its strengths and weaknesses, and there’s no one out there that hasn’t had to learn the ropes at some point.
However, there are some bands that show up here and there that just know exactly how to package themselves, and understand how to make the best use of the resources available to them. Some shining examples would be Post Rock Post favorites Ranges, as well as Hungary’s Torzs, who came out of nowhere in 2019 with their LP Tukor, which was both recorded and filmed inside of a stunning cave system 500 feet below the ground. That was a breathtaking introduction to the world to say the least, and resulted in their signing to labels in both the U.S. and Europe, and eventually being featured on Audiotree’s Worldwide series during the early stages of COVID.
Thot is a band cut from the same cloth. The brainchild of songwriter Gregoire Fray, Thot is never satisfied with simply releasing new music; there always seems to be some sort of visual companion, and that is indeed the case with “Bataleur.” The middle track of their 3-song EP Meandres, released in March of this year, it represents one piece of a larger visual puzzle that captures the band performing the full EP at a church in Brussels. The entire video will be available as Meandres/A Triptych Live Performance on the 22nd of this month, and as an added bonus there will also be a live stream premiere for the video, followed by an online Q&A with the band.
For now, we’ll take a look at the “Bataleur” video, which depicts a powerhouse performance featuring 3 singers, 2 guitarists, 2 drummers, a keyboardist, a bass player, and a 5-member backing chorus. The song manages to achieve a dense wall-of-sound feel without sacrificing its high-energy, briskly-paced, and pleasingly approachable vibe. The band identifies as post-rock/industrial, and this track certainly leans heavily into the latter. It reminds me a bit of Stabbing Westward, and shares that band’s talent for fusing together dark, moody atmospherics and engaging, hook-laden songwriting. For as much as Thot treads on post-rock-adjacent grounds throughout their catalog, one similarity they certainly do not display here is a desire to meander. From its opening moment “Bataleur” propels aggressively forward with confidence, attitude, and swagger. Much like the camera itself it never stops once it gets going, until finally collapsing into a chaotic burst of static in its closing moments. It’s nothing if not a thoroughly engaging and promising teaser for the full video to follow.
It should be noted that while the constantly-moving 360-degree camerawork and pulsing strobe lights create a striking effect, prospective viewers who struggle with Photosensitivity may need to proceed with caution. For everyone else, please enjoy “Bataleur,” and if you like what you and see and hear definitely dig further into Thot’s considerable catalog of audio and visual releases.