Tehom - Lacrimae Mundi [Cyclic Law - 2014]Croatia's Tehom has had a sparse recording schedule. Lacrimae Mundi is the act's third release, with their first being in 1996. Sadly, part of this is due to the passing of founding member Sinisa Ocurscak in 1997. Many years after what fans figured was the band's burial, Miljenko Rajakovic resurrected the project with Lacrimae Mundi. Coming in a limited edition from Cyclic Law, Tehom's latest release is a grim and organic sounding slice of dark ambient.
With such a small and sparse discography (and, presumably, little to no touring support behind it), it's not surprising if few have heard of Tehom. I'm part of the unknowing majority, so I didn't know what to expect with this release. Miljenko crafted up an eerie, grim, and pretty natural sounding album that has cinematic qualities without being too hokey. The album's low, rumbling, opening notes on "Perilous Depth" bring the listener in instantly. The sweeping, cavernous drones are thick with subterranean fury and the low chants and tribal instruments help to complete the chthonic vibe. The Christian spoken word bits, though, have an opposite effect. Continuing with the natural sounds and feelings, "Darkness Cosmogony of Myth" uses water, insects, birds, and heavy synths to give the sound a locus. "Abyss" continues the subterranean travelogue and adds some tribal drums to the mix. The synths on this play a bit higher and add a bit of cinematic flair. Slowly oscillating and vibrating synths help the listener to feel the "Amorphous Structure" in the next track. Lacking the defined space of the previous songs, the high, passing synths almost make one feel as if they're slowly falling down a chamber. This is interrupted by the persistent drum beat and sharp, synth shock wave."The World Ended" starts as thick, reverb laden soup before birthing some Terminator 2 soundtrack-like drums and notes. "Lacrimae Mundi" and "The Magnitude of Shaking" continue the low end ambient flight. An airy element takes the fore in "Atum." Low rumbles still abound, but there seems to be some sort of relief for the traveler that is miles below the surface. The closing track, "Modality of Cosmic Matter" finishes the album with a different, less organic approach. Crunchy, electric synths fill the cavern's ceiling like some sort of opening, magic wormhole. The traveler has found what he is looking for and the journey is complete.
Lacrimae Mundi sounds like a Lovecraft story via dark ambient. While I'm not familiar with Tehom's previous albums, I really enjoyed their latest. Although dark, rumbling, and cavernous, it's also sometimes light and organic. Let's hope that Miljenko's resurrection of Tehom isn't just a one off.Paul Casey