Tehom - The Merciless LightAccording to a totally legit Wikipedia search, the word “tehom” refers to the deep ocean which once existed and from which Biblical Creation began. The dark but somewhat aquatic artwork adorning the front of Tehom‘s The Merciless Light fits this story and these Swedes attempt to document these primordial times through the medium of blackened death metal. This won’t be the first time that religion and/or mythology has been explored in this way but I had hoped I might feel the somber gravitas which was distinctly lacking before. Alas, my hopes were dashed within the three tracks opening this début full-length.

The Merciless Light asks the question “how many chromatic riffs can be stitched together?” The energetic answer is “nearly 30 minutes” worth!1 But this further begs the question “what’s the fucking point?” Almost none are enjoyable, or even vaguely interesting. Riffs are indistinguishable from one track to the next, much like the tracks themselves. While some may initially sound decent, any quality is neutered by the simple similarity in style and tempo. And though an average of five-minute songs totaling 35 minutes is a great length for this sort of music, just one of these songs seems too long. The record isn’t immediately so dire because it does at least sound the part: guitar tones are buzzing, the bass is suitably muddy and the tone used for solos stands out without being too clean. But these component parts are not tied into anything which engages for a few minutes, let alone an entire track.

Most tracks follow a rigid formula. Tremolo-picked chromatic riffs lead the way with a couple of variations before slowing into groovier breakdowns which serve as transitions into the fully blackened whirlwinds comprising blast beats and greater atmosphere. A few guitar solos are arbitrarily distributed. Repeat once or twice per track then multiply by 6 for each track barring the ambient breather on “Tehom Invocation.” I noted this pattern on my first committed listen by the third track. Once you’ve taken on the opener, “Absorbed into the Will of the Great Destroyer,” there’s really nothing more added by the remainder of the album.

The Merciless Light is so uninspiring that I could scarcely motivate myself to write this review, even in takedown format. It’s not good enough to write a balanced review, nor is it even bad enough to thoroughly annihilate. It sits in the damningly poor place in-between which will never ever be remembered, unlike the impressively shit Superman 64 or Project Theory. The few of you who have read this far should know that you’ve wasted your time in doing so and in playing the linked track. Those seeking satisfaction in a concluding witty comment…

Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Blood Harvest
Websites: www.facebook.com/tehom
Releases worldwide: April 21st, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. Discounting the ambient sixth track.
  • Sophocles

    Ok, now how about a Fjoergyn review?

  • Reese Burns

    Good cover art though. Very mysterious looking and it promises dark, contemplative music. Too bad the band failed to live up to it.

    • Diego Molero

      You forgot to mention that it’s a sphere!

    • Drew Music

      Underworld problems.

    • A touch of Death Cult Armageddon, mayhaps.
      And the spheres mentioned by Diego seems to be the hot shit of cover art in 2017.

      • Diego Molero

        The spheres are the hot shit of cover art in 2017 and in every other year.

        • I feel there’s more of them around these days, but that might be just my brain damage.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    AVGN just said Sonic ’06 isn’t that bad so how bad can this be?

    From the sample, I’ve heard much much worse, to be perfectly honest. I think I kinda like it, actually.

    • Reese Burns

      AVGN? Sounds like some kinda Angry Metal spinoff blog.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Poe’s law got me good, once again.

        The Angry Video Game Nerd is an internet institution, my friend, and has been since 2004, if you can believe it. I suspect AMG took some inspiration from the AVGN in name choice.

  • Thatguy

    Very clever, El C. You bastard. And not even a band photo to pick on.

    • Look again!

      • Thatguy

        Doesn’t count…and you’re a bastard too.

        But excellent unicorns, and so sad they missed the boat.

  • Handy Donut Hole

    The rote riffing in that embedded track is a snooze fest.

  • Been spinning this album just a few times without paying too much attention thus far, but my preliminary impression is that “Embarrassing” is rather strict.
    Tehom don’t invent anything new, but the hasty riffing sounds okay, and I’ve heard sooo much less interesting stuff both in every aspect.

    • Dethjesta

      I agree that ‘Embarrassing’ is harsh. But cannot say it works for me. It sure does seem rather monotonous and uninspired.

      • I wouldn’t use the word monotony, as it does have variation. Just not enough to make each song very interesting, or separate the tracks. The second half of Faith from Water is the best segment in that respect.

    • El_Cuervo

      The words which are attached at the top right are pretty loose. There’s a general guide for us writers which is more detailed but I rarely refer to that these days. It just felt like a 1 for me.

      • An honest subjective opinion. I quite like it, but it lacks better hooks and more variation. It’s not as memorable as I’d wish, but rather a there-and-than album. The five minutes of spoken “gibberish” is the biggest downer, though.

  • Diego Molero

    What a sad band photo

    • And still it made me smile.
      Either the site wasn’t loaded correctly in my browser the first time, or that unicorn image was added after the publication of the review.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      But it explains a lot…

  • lennymccall

    Yeah whatever, I’ve been digging this. So huh, good for me I guess?

    • That made me lol

    • sir_c

      it’s like giving the dog a bone

  • Just wait this will make al’s year end list

  • AnnieK13

    Well…I like the cover and the unicorn pic but not sure I’m going to make it through even the embedded track.

  • Hammersmith

    It’s Superman 64 bad? Ok, that I understand.

    • Sean Sky

      That’s not what he said. He said it’s forgettable but not impressively bad like Superman 64.

  • Bob Lunger

    I hear nothing original in this, or particular good, but that cover art though.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    This is definitely not great, but neither do I think it deserves a rating of 1.0. It’s as if they gave El Cuervo a limited amount of points for this month and he’s saving them for something else he really likes.

    • El_Cuervo

      I was about to object and then I checked my reviews from this month again haha. Asira really is by far the best thing I reviewed.

  • Alexandre Barata

    Well it lacks… something. I wouldn’t go for a 1.0, more in a 1.5-2.0 for me, but it becomes really boring, no hooks, no inpired riffs, no variation inter-songs. I wouldn’t call it bad, in the way I think about deathcore bands, but it’s still an album I should have not spun.

  • sir_c

    well, at least there is no man bun to be found here…

  • Eli Valcik

    Emo Unicorn?

  • You wot m8?

    Rabble rabble rabble… Should have been at least a 2.0… Rabble rabble rabble…

  • “But this further begs the question “what’s the fucking point?””

    incorrect usage of “begs the question”, your review is invalid.