Friday, April 17, 2009

Tomhet - A Dark Serenity

The availability of bedroom black metal bands' material isn't cause for concern outright. Though when anyone with a Korg keyboard and a midi-drum program can make an album and find someone to release it, I am concerned with labels' attention to what is worth investing their time and money in. Labels pushing releases like Tomhet's "A Dark Serenity" are one reason for a swamped market; overcrowded and unbrowsable trade lists and above all - subpar metal. While Tomhet's "A Dark Serenity" might be worth your time if bland and boring blackened crap is up your alley, I don't see a reason for this release to be anything more than a self financed and released demo or even a pre-production click recording. Apart from the fact that this isn't really gripping in any way, the fucking songs last longer than reading the Yongle Dadian from beginning to end... well, they seem that way. I mean, the intro to the intro of the first song is two notes played over and over for two minutes straight. Why?!

So once the intro track is finished and I'm ready for some black metal - maybe the point of the strenuous opening - I still have to wait another minute and a half until the first distorted notes on the album break through. At this point, I've already sat through the same semi-conscious compositions for over four minutes before opening track "Ice Fell From The Sky" awkwardly erupts into a full frontal assault of bedroom blasting. Tomhet's creator, Jonathan S. proves his ability in repetitive drum programming from the start. While the sound of the drums themselves are not too irksome, real cymbals would help the monotony of hearing the same sounding high hat for the duration of the (too-long) CD. "Ice Fell" is an accurate representation of the rest of the albums black metal tracks - long, boring and repetitive - and introductory track, "Aphotic Infinity," sprawling like the suburbs of New Jersey, is a remarkable example of the orchestral tracks. Tracks four and five, "A Tale of Ultimate Catharsis" and "Everlasting Woe II" follow in their boring black metal and orchestral contemplation respectively. "Everlasting Woe" does have a nice throbbing keyboard drawl to it though this could also be explained by the headache I succumbed to listening to the cd two times in a row.

One stand out track is the enjoyable title track, "A Dark Serenity." An instrumental, this song is favored with having a nice soothing melody and a not-so-boring construction that alternates between multiple sections. Unlike the five previous paint-watching sessions which were either black metal or orchestration / ambient, "A Dark Serenity" falls somewhere in between. Yes, it is an ambient track but not as minimalist as the previous orchestrated romps and not so outright an attempt at black metal like the other black metal monotonies. The lack of Jonathan's horrid vocals are another major benefit to "A Dark Serenity's" listenability. On the previous tracks, his vocals were a distorted, reverberatory quadruple overdubbed mess of static and rawness mixed too high in the mix to destroy any hope of "atmosphere" the songs may have created in a distant parallel universe. They work much better in the title track... Sadly, this track is followed by "Journey Through The Frozen Forest," a journey through frozen redundancy, it marks the worst the CD has to offer. Boring, vocally grating and containing the most irritating riff since Pantera's "Walk," it gladly ends after only two minutes. More boring keyboard crap can be found in "Outro."
The Blasphemy cover, "Atomic Nuclear Desolation" starts off being the best track on the whole damn CD but cuts off after only twenty three seconds. Every song has at least ten seconds worth of silence following it (which I am thankful for - these moments of silence remained my only hope for momentary respite while listening). I am frustrated and needy now... like a little schoolboy surrounded by short skirted goddesses while the only woman who wants me is a chubby. This is limited to only one hundred and fifty copies (still too many) so luckily most people will never have to endure Tomhet.

________RELEASE INFO__________
Year: 2008
Origin: USA (Canyon County, California)
Label: Nokturnal Transmissions Records
Serial: NTR 005
Lineup: Jonathan S. - Everything

1. Intro
2. Ice Fell From The Sky
3. Aurora Borealis
4. A Tale Of Ultimate Catharsis
5. Everlasting Woe II
6. A Dark Serenity
7. Journey Through The Frozen Forest
8. Atomic Nuclear Desolation (Blasphemy Cover)
9. Outro

Tomhet Official
Tomhet Myspace
Nokturnal Transmission Records

________EXTRA INFO___________


1. NTR 005 (CD - 150 Copies)
2. LR 009 (Cassette - 50 Copies)

Nokturnal Transmission Records

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