Tehôm - Lacrimae Mundi
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters"
- Genesis 1:2
Since time immemorial, world order arose great interest in peoples’ minds trying to shed light on its creation. A huge amount of different myths and legends grew on such a fertile soil; millions of human lives were sacrificed for domination of specific ideals or beliefs. Even as we speak, mankind in its majority refuses to accept scientific comprehension choosing to stick to theological and religious explanations only (just count all those that are followers of Christianity, Islam and other religions existing in the world around). But there are some basic definitions and theories which are quite common for many of them, or have a common baseline at least, and one of them is a theory about creation of the world, a system of forming and functioning of all living beings.
Tehom (Hebrew), literally the Deep or Abyss (Greek Septuagint: ábyssos), refers to the Great Deep of the primordial waters of creation in the Bible. Mentioned in Bible, this definition is common not only for Judaism and Christianity, but was understood deeply by early Sumerian and was equated with Tiamat. Also Ancient Egyptian mythology envisaged the oceanic abyss of the Nun as surrounding a bubble in which the sphere of life is encapsulated, representing the deepest mystery of their cosmogony. That’s why one of the most important cornerstones of human existence receives lots of reflections in all kinds of art, and industrial music is not an exception. One of the most respectful Croatian experimental projects adopts the name of primordial waters to create a piece of tribal dark ambient music.
Being active as a duo since 1988, those noble gentlemen released few nice albums until one of the members, Ocurscak, died tragically in 1997. The second member of the band gave up with it for a while, but recently he reanimated it as a solo project and joined the horde of Canadian Cyclic Law label. And today I hold in my hands a digipack that can be easily added to the list of the most beautifully designed covers between the releases of dark music scene in 2014. I will explain for those of you that prefer a fake orgasm of digital music over the best sensual experience of the physical copy, the CD is wrapped in 3 panel glossy digipack that has an image of Horus-like creature kneeling down before a burning fire. And as for the content...
"To escape vanity of current and any other times, ages and civilizations, one must think beyond time, age and Cosmos itself..." Those words are printed inside the package and belong to Thor Einar Leichhardt, a famous writer, author and columnist. Miljenko, the man behind TeHom, offers his version of escape, an escape through music full of mysterious passages and melodies. Tribal dark ambient has already been exploited for many years by different artists; I really love this subgenre and keep a close eye on its development since the mid nineties. But what is presented on "Lacrimae Mundi" is a little bit different from the classics of the genre like Sephiroth or Arbre Noir. The spirit of the album is strictly ritualistic, but not all the tracks have a straight forward song structure. Opening with "Perilous Depth" Tehom presents a deep sensual experience supported by a really dark background melody and an ethnic drum implementing a soft rhythm to this composition. The second track throws listener into the depth of "Darkness Cosmogony of Myth" where a slow Arabian melody rolls forward together with an insinuating voice clearing space for hypnotic "Abyss". It reminds me of Inade's, Herbst9's or Desiderii Marginis' old material in some ways, but despite some light similarities, Tehom has its own face and the rhythm of the third track proves the point while my hands begin to beat and bang without my control and my body rocking itself to and fro, like a boat during a storm.
"Every man and every woman is a star" claims the demonic voice in 'Amorphous Structure' that starts with a space meditative melody, but the tribal percussion breaks into the structure once again in the middle of this composition, spinning my thoughts in a ritual of fire. 'The World Ended' lowers speed a little bit to create a dungeon-like atmosphere, but the same percussion appears in it as well creating a portion of slight tension during the last minute of its run.
Generally, the album can be divided in two parts, when the first is more dynamic, full of rhythm and the second one which is started by the sixth track 'Lacrimae Mundi' (Tears of the World) freezes the motion by classic dark ambient sound. A dark background hum becomes slowly overloaded with lots of special effects, sudden noises and scratches, wind blowing and a demonic voice reading some words. I must admit that by this point the album begins to loosen its pace and energy, turning into just another dark ambient record. I cannot understand why Miljenko removed his leg from the gas pedal, but if 'The Magnitude of Shaking' has some glimpse of hope to offer, some scary, obscure atmosphere, but 'Atum' falls into a total average-ism. Slowly moving thin layers of sound that are rarely filled with a presence of effects, this is the content of this composition. A reflection of the first part of this record can be found in the final 'Modality of the Cosmic Matter' when the tribal percussion adds a beat to mysterious melody. The music becomes more majestic getting closer to what is expected when dealing with such bombastic themes, recovering my impression from the previous tracks, closing this album on positive note.
I truly believe that when artists choose a theme for their art manifestation, all the efforts, all the creativity should be very sharp and focused. Somehow I feel that Tehom could have made a little bit more of an effort to unlock the full potential of both the theme and the musical genre that he had chosen for his sound experiments. There are really big names which established themselves through 20-30 years of creative process that continue to craft amazing albums out there and it is quite hard to stay in one line with them. Anyhow, "Lacrimae Mundi" contains a few interesting tracks and has an amazing graphic design that gives it enough credit to reach the level of a good album. I hope that my impression is clearly reflected in the rating of this record. And I also hope to hear some new material from this project in the future.
May 01 2015
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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