Belgium’s industrial, post-rock collective THOT are a band existing in constant flux, that appear to thrive in the tumult of modern life.

Formed around core songwriter and artistic visionary Grégoire Fray, THOT is a constant meeting of minds, memories and mediums across three sprawling full-length concept albums, four experimental EPs and an ever-growing cluster of remixes, re-arrangements and ambitious revisions that revitalise the band’s entire oeuvre and pull it rushing to the present.

Fittingly then, THOT’s impending fourth album ‘Delta’ is a melting pot of the people, places, spaces and times that have helped define the band to date. A sonic star chart of false starts, familiar faces and foreign tongues asking cosmic questions that may or may not ever be answered, ‘Delta’ is a handsome reward for the aurally curious and the creatively inquisitive.

2009’s ‘Ortie’ EP, THOT’s first release, is a rush of gritty electronics, buzzsaw distortion and agitated vocals that initially seems at odds with the atmospheric depth of the band’s breathtaking debut album, ‘Obscured by the Wind’, two years later. However, ‘Ortie’ itself appears within the record, re-tuned, re-recorded and re-defined by the latest incarnation of the band; kickstarting their extraordinary process as a creative collective with an equally collective output that blurs the boundaries between releases and formats just as it does between genre and medium…

Two albums, 2014’s ‘The City That Disappears’ and 2017’s ‘FLEUVE’, numerous EPs and two dedicated years of touring later, Grégoire Fray and his collective have amassed an astounding artistic network that spans decades and continents. However, like so many projects begun in and around 2019, ‘Delta’ was derailed by the pandemic, with the first iteration of the album scrapped entirely due to creative differences amplified by enforced social distancing. Grégoire, born in France but based in Belgium, found himself back at the beginning; now questioning his identity as an artist in the wake of global catastrophe. Channelling his despondency through THOT’s playful twist on chronological time, this crisis of faith became the catalyst for ‘Delta’s new shape. Fray found himself returning to the old recurring question of why he never sang in his mother tongue. Previously frustrated by its incompatibility with the Anglo-American guitar music he loved, Grégoire now found himself intrigued by his French’s fluidity when paired alongside English lyrics too.

Written, arranged, recorded and documented between late 2019 and 2023 by Fray alongside collaborators Lukas Melville, Gil Chevingné, Stéphane Fedele, Anaïs Elba, Michael Thiel and Juliette Mauduit; ‘Delta’ is as much a product of the band’s past as it is their present, also featuring a true collaboration with the women of ‘Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares’, an iconic Bulgarian traditional polyphonic choir previously sampled by THOT as well as the voice of award-winning Czech singer-songwriter Lenka Dusilová, who Fray met by chance through friends on the road. The album is a shifting collage of people, places, past and present, all stirred by THOT’s renowned grasp of cinematic, post-rock dynamics and cold-wave electronic orchestration.

Lead single ‘Supercluster’ was the last track written for the record and sees the band embracing the confusion of a world turned upside down. A driving, bass-heavy adrenaline rush of French and English at first feels bewildering but, as Grégoire says, “‘Supercluster’ can represent a Covid supercluster just like it can represent a galactic supercluster. A scale ranging from microscopic to monolithic like this makes us realise that whatever we’re wrestling with, whether it’s ourselves or each other, is ultimately insignificant and immaterial. Enjoy life, enjoy the ride.”

Elsewhere, the simmering, downtempo ‘Hüzün’, featuring Juliette Mauduit’s arresting voice and lyrics, is inspired by a memory of a performance in Istanbul. The title, a Turkish word for the space between sorrow and melancholy, was used by an audience member to describe the experience and, many years later, became the means of returning to deeply personal memories in the form of Mauduit’s words as well as formative tool for Fray to address all of the cultural, musical and emotional liminalities that ‘Delta’ explores…

Post-Rock, Prog-Metal hurricane ‘Céphéide’ was imagined by Fray long before ‘Delta’ was conceived, but the themes and motifs of the process brought old emotions and insecurities to the fore now viewed through the lens of age and experience. Whether the bittersweet lingering refrain of “I miss you” refers to a person, people, a place or even who Fray was before, we’ll never know but the full-throttle guitar euphoria and pounding, resounding drums behind it suggest that Fray is all the stronger, despite this absence.

Boundary-breaking by nature, Thot will also be releasing a series of narratively interlinked videos alongside singles from the record featuring some of the faces and places that helped bring ‘Delta’ into being, as well as characters and tales that have emerged from the creative process itself. True to form, there is no guarantee that these videos will be released in chronological order... The band want their audience to shape the story for themselves, to become part of the story themselves.

In some ways, ‘Delta’ is everyone’s story. A powerful, post-rock document of hope and perseverance against all odds, a narrative that has been shaped by so many people around the world. The next chapter starts when you hear it, when you make it a part of your own story.

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