Rating:
9.0
Thergothon - Stream From The Heavens
1994


01. Everlasting
02. Yet The Watchers Guard
03. The Unknown Kadath In The Cold Waste
04. Elemental
05. Who Rides The Astral Wings
06. Crying Blood + Crimson Snow


Judging by what I've seen so far, people tend to have a much harder time listening to music that is extremely slow than its fast counterpart. Oh, you think you know what extremely slow is? Well then, you'll have no problems sitting through Stream From The Heavens. Ironic, though, that the album contains the word "stream" in its name, when "Ten thousand tons of lead barely slugging through mud... from the Heavens" would have been much more appropriate to describe the sound.

Pioneering one of the most inaccessible genres of metal, Thergothon have created something they can truly feel proud about, even though, sadly, it's the first and only full-length they ever released. Talk about underground stereotypes, eh? Fortunately, that's the only thing stereotypical about this release. If you feel you're ready for it, prepare yourself for one seriously obscure and alien sounding juggernaut of an album.

Stream From Heavens probably defies what most people even consider music in the first place. Completely devoid of any catchy hooks, with dynamic variations reduced to a minimum, Thergothon's one and only opus relies solely on drawn out, monochromatic, droning notes that can hardly even be called riffs, slowly pounding with a force equal to 10G to create a claustrophobic vacuum around the unfortunate listener. Not one hint of joy, hope or pleasantness managed to squirm into the vacuum: only darkness, sadness and complete desolation. Yet, under the right mindset, there is certainly a transcendental feel to be enjoyed as well. The constant droning may eventually push you into a trance-like state, or plunge you into the deepest and darkest corners of your mind that you didn't even know you had.

How does Stream From Heavens exert such control over one's mind? Astonishingly enough, the answer is: through sheer simplicity of form and a complexity of emotional soundscapes. Basically, the album consists of about forty minutes of bassy pounding, extremely thick and heavy guitars, with a mesmerizing, eerie lead showing itself every now and then. The deep growls work in unison with clean, creepy chants, often joined by synths that usually sound like they were taken from a nightmare. And that production... Muffled and muddy, sounding as if it came from a different planet, fits perfectly and completes the circle.

While this album may define "inaccessible" to some, my friendliest advice for anyone into doom would be to give it time and patience. It will prove to be a worthwhile investment. Hell, if nothing else, it should be remembered for its part in creating the genre that spawned all those cute little bands you might have heard of, like Esoteric, Evoken, Ahab, Nortt and many others.

Warning: Prolonged exposure may and probably will cause one of the following symptoms: brain bludgeoned into goo, effects similar to large amounts of potent hallucinogens or utter soul devastation. Do not, I repeat, do not try listening to it while on drugs. Or do, it just might be one of the trippiest experiences you'll ever have.

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Thergothon
Album: Stream From The Heavens


 


written by Slayer666 | 23.08.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Slayer666 - 23.08.2011 at 12:26  
Well, I'll be damned. This is my first review that got published with no editing.
Feel free to bow, mortals.
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.08.2011 at 12:34  
I agree, a totally awesome and influential album. Which to be honest I didn't find hard to get into at all. I think the part that will scare off most people is the almost total lack of production. The mix and production are probably the hardest parts to listen through for most people nowadays who are used to biteless, slick overproduced albums.
That being said... this album should never ever be re-released in a remasted, remixed version, that would just kill it totally.
Slayer666 - 23.08.2011 at 12:42  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.08.2011 at 12:34

I agree, a totally awesome and influential album. Which to be honest I didn't find hard to get into at all.

Me neither, I was already enjoying it a lot during the second listen. But as far as I've seen, both IRL and online, people really do have a hard time digesting this and most of them just give up.
Their loss, I guess.
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.08.2011 at 13:00  
Written by Slayer666 on 23.08.2011 at 12:42

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.08.2011 at 12:34

I agree, a totally awesome and influential album. Which to be honest I didn't find hard to get into at all.

Me neither, I was already enjoying it a lot during the second listen. But as far as I've seen, both IRL and online, people really do have a hard time digesting this and most of them just give up.
Their loss, I guess.


I think that those are people that want a pristine slick sound and are scared of by the sound of this albu, which like I said has an almost non-production going on.
Daniell - 23.08.2011 at 16:28  
This album is very influential - that's undoubtedly true. This album is very badly produced, but it's not so important - that's also undoubtedly true. (Even though I do prefer albums that actually have been produced). It's an absolute extreme doom classic, hands down. These are facts and I'm not going to question them. Also, I quite like this album.

Accessibility-wise, it's as hard to digest as any extreme (not only doom, but any) album, but only for those who aren't familiar with what they're up against. If one heard 10 other funeral doom releases, they will get the hang of the genre and Thergothon will be a history lesson to them. If one is new to extreme doom, they should not start with Thergothon.

The production, influentiality and inaccessibility aside, the music itself is not so good... The songwriting is slightly sloppy and sometimes simply uninteresting. At the time of its release the album was pioneer's work, and that's what makes it so significant. But just like with many pioneers, their followers did it better...

Yeah, and now I will read some answers that tell me how ignorant I am to say what I said
Mr. Doctor - 23.08.2011 at 16:50  
Written by Daniell on 23.08.2011 at 16:28

But just like with many pioneers, their followers did it better...

Yeah, and now I will read some answers that tell me how ignorant I am to say what I said


Nah, you are not ignorant. I feel quite the same. I enjor this record a lot (I should buy it soon) and all that jazz but it's undeniable that the followers became stronger than their masters.
Slayer666 - 23.08.2011 at 23:09  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.08.2011 at 16:50

Written by Daniell on 23.08.2011 at 16:28

But just like with many pioneers, their followers did it better...

Yeah, and now I will read some answers that tell me how ignorant I am to say what I said


Nah, you are not ignorant. I feel quite the same. I enjor this record a lot (I should buy it soon) and all that jazz but it's undeniable that the followers became stronger than their masters.


Huh... Some did, sure, but this album is still miles ahead of the vast majority within the genre, if you ask me.
It stood the test of time pretty well, as far as I'm concerned.
Mr. Doctor - 24.08.2011 at 00:15  
Written by Slayer666 on 23.08.2011 at 23:09

Huh... Some did, sure, but this album is still miles ahead of the vast majority within the genre, if you ask me.
It stood the test of time pretty well, as far as I'm concerned.


Every single band you mentioned went to do their own thing as well and yeah... They surpassed their master in terms of quality.
I'm not saying the album is bad though, just saying that there are a notable number of bands who got their influences from Thergothon and they ended up doing some stuff that is just better than the music they see as their influence.

Compared to many albums nowdays, Stream From The Heavens is still "fresh" and relevant but still that doesn't really work as an argument considering how most bands/artists in any genre suck balls, we don't care about them, we care about those who matter.
Marcel Hubregtse - 24.08.2011 at 12:01  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.08.2011 at 00:15

Every single band you mentioned went to do their own thing as well and yeah... They surpassed their master in terms of quality.



Only Esoteric did out of those mentioned. Nortt doesn't come close at all especially without the atrocious last album, Evoken comes close as does Ahab but both haven't surpassed Thergothon either.
esoteric managed to morph into something original whereas the other three haven't (yet?) Thergothon of course were as original as it could get back in the day, and even for today's standards. They are in that sense like Unholy.
Mr. Doctor - 24.08.2011 at 12:23  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.08.2011 at 12:01

Evoken comes close as does Ahab but both haven't surpassed Thergothon either.


That's like...uh.. you opinion, man!
You don't even need to be more original to surpass a master. You just need to outdo the band in terms of performance and songwriting. Both Evoken and Ahab have clearly done that.
This discussion might be quite unfair though, it's like comparing old movies to modern movies. Even if both are equally awesome, it's still quite unfair to compare them due to the time that has passed so I won't continue comparing them anymore.
Daniell - 24.08.2011 at 12:28  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.08.2011 at 12:01

Only Esoteric did out of those mentioned. Nortt doesn't come close at all especially without the atrocious last album, Evoken comes close as does Ahab but both haven't surpassed Thergothon either.
esoteric managed to morph into something original whereas the other three haven't (yet?) Thergothon of course were as original as it could get back in the day, and even for today's standards. They are in that sense like Unholy.


Esoteric, Evoken, Ahab, Mournful Congregation - the first funeral doom bands that came to my mind just now. They all released at least one album that is infinitely better than Thergothon. Not to mention that these bands managed to produce their music.

In before pointless sub-genre nitpicking: please let's not waste time arguing whether the aforementioned bands are funeral doom, or maybe death/funeral doom, or maybe funeral/death doom with cock flutes and prancing manga girls.
Daniell - 24.08.2011 at 12:30  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.08.2011 at 12:23

This discussion might be quite unfair though, it's like comparing old movies to modern movies. Even if both are equally awesome, it's still quite unfair to compare them due to the time that has passed so I won't continue comparing them anymore.


Actually, no matter the time difference, you can always compare acting, screenplay and a few other things that are universal to every movie. As is songwriting to every album.
Mr. Doctor - 24.08.2011 at 12:34  
Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:30

Actually, no matter the time difference, you can always compare acting, screenplay and a few other things that are universal to every movie. As is songwriting to every album.


You can really compare them in terms of production though, that is pretty unfair tbh.
!J.O.O.E.! - 24.08.2011 at 12:35  
There's no point arguing any of this when Wormphlegm are leagues ahead of everything funeral, doom/death-wise.
Daniell - 24.08.2011 at 12:49  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.08.2011 at 12:34

Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:30

Actually, no matter the time difference, you can always compare acting, screenplay and a few other things that are universal to every movie. As is songwriting to every album.


You can really compare them in terms of production though, that is pretty unfair tbh.


Not comparing production, only mentioning that some albums sound better than others. It'd be unfair to compare, as you said.

@ JOOE: Wormphlegm better muscially? I disagree. They do manage to create incredibly ominous atmosphere, which I enjoy thoroughly, but music-wise, they're not so fantastic.
I guess it all boils down to personal preference: music quality or atmosphere. Or both for that matter.
Mr. Doctor - 24.08.2011 at 12:53  
Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:49

I guess it all boils down to personal preference: music quality or atmosphere. Or both for that matter.


Absolutely. Also... (to me anyway) all the bands mentioned are awesome and have done some wonderful music so compering them turns out to be pointless to me
!J.O.O.E.! - 24.08.2011 at 12:54  
Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:49


@ JOOE: Wormphlegm better muscially? I disagree. They do manage to create incredibly ominous atmosphere, which I enjoy thoroughly, but music-wise, they're not so fantastic.
I guess it all boils down to personal preference: music quality or atmosphere. Or both for that matter.

Music =/= atmosphere. One creates the other so that doesn't really make sense to me. And before you say it I regard production as simply another instrument, as I do vocals.
Daniell - 24.08.2011 at 12:58  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 24.08.2011 at 12:54

Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:49


@ JOOE: Wormphlegm better muscially? I disagree. They do manage to create incredibly ominous atmosphere, which I enjoy thoroughly, but music-wise, they're not so fantastic.
I guess it all boils down to personal preference: music quality or atmosphere. Or both for that matter.

Music =/= atmosphere. One creates the other so that doesn't really make sense to me. And before you say it I regard production as simply another instrument, as I do vocals.


Fair enough. What I meant to say was that with not-so-great music Wormphlegm managed to create brilliant atmosphere
!J.O.O.E.! - 24.08.2011 at 12:59  
Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:58



Fair enough. What I meant to say was that with not-so-great music Wormphlegm managed to create brilliant atmosphere

Well that's an achievement in itself then ;]
Slayer666 - 24.08.2011 at 13:02  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 24.08.2011 at 12:35

There's no point arguing any of this when Wormphlegm are leagues ahead of everything funeral, doom/death-wise.

TOTOL LIES!!!

Wormphlegm come off as pretty two dimensional to me, as opposed to this album. Honestly, depending on my mood when listening to Stream From Heavens, it almost sounds like I'm listening to a different album each time. Wormphlegm are pretty much torturous and ominous in sound and that's it, regardless of you approach 'em. Great stuff, but surely not leagues ahead of everything. And my opinion is the one that matters the most so...

@The rest
I agree with Marcel here. And to you peoplez pulling the Esoteric card, don't you think that's a wee bit overkill?
Marcel Hubregtse - 24.08.2011 at 16:16  
Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:28


Esoteric, Evoken, Ahab, Mournful Congregation - the first funeral doom bands that came to my mind just now. They all released at least one album that is infinitely better than Thergothon. Not to mention that these bands managed to produce their music.


The almost pristine production actually takes away quite a bit from Ahab's music as well as Mournful Congregation at times.
Loose song writing could also help a band such as Ahab. Their focus on pristine sound and tight songs works against them in my book. In that sense the albums by Ahab don't sound better than that of Thergothon. If they would use a more raw production and write looser songs and be less cerebral about it all they would be immense whereas now they are just good to me.
Marcel Hubregtse - 24.08.2011 at 16:19  
Written by Daniell on 24.08.2011 at 12:30

Actually, no matter the time difference, you can always compare acting, screenplay and a few other things that are universal to every movie. As is songwriting to every album.


Actually you can't because that is also subjective due to what a film, and in this music is trying to achieve.
Mr. Doctor - 24.08.2011 at 17:12  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.08.2011 at 16:16

The almost pristine production actually takes away quite a bit from Ahab's music as well as Mournful Congregation at times.
Loose song writing could also help a band such as Ahab. Their focus on pristine sound and tight songs works against them in my book. In that sense the albums by Ahab don't sound better than that of Thergothon. If they would use a more raw production and write looser songs and be less cerebral about it all they would be immense whereas now they are just good to me.


If there was ONE thing in Ahab's debut that was brilliant, it was the production. No way that album would sound better with a different production, it will not suit their style at all. In that case you might as well change the songwriting so it will mix well with the rawer prouction and there you go: You get a completely different album (meh, even different band to my ears) therefore the argument is invalid imo
Marcel Hubregtse - 24.08.2011 at 17:30  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.08.2011 at 17:12

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.08.2011 at 16:16

The almost pristine production actually takes away quite a bit from Ahab's music as well as Mournful Congregation at times.
Loose song writing could also help a band such as Ahab. Their focus on pristine sound and tight songs works against them in my book. In that sense the albums by Ahab don't sound better than that of Thergothon. If they would use a more raw production and write looser songs and be less cerebral about it all they would be immense whereas now they are just good to me.


If there was ONE thing in Ahab's debut that was brilliant, it was the production. No way that album would sound better with a different production, it will not suit their style at all. In that case you might as well change the songwriting so it will mix well with the rawer prouction and there you go: You get a completely different album (meh, even different band to my ears) therefore the argument is invalid imo


I actually meant Ahab's second album. I should have made that clear, apparently On the debut the production did fit and that's why I find it superior to the second one.
Mr. Doctor - 24.08.2011 at 17:34  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.08.2011 at 17:30

I should have made that clear, apparently


You should have since I'm also on the team "their debut was better". I still love the second album though... But it is a bit too "technical" (or cerebral as you put it). I don't see any problems with the production on that one since it seems pretty similar to the debut. Only the songwriting got more "post-metal" (although the clean vocals were a perfect bonus).

...Poor Thergothon, it's too easy to get offtopic when it comes to one-album-bands.
Marcel Hubregtse - 24.08.2011 at 17:36  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 24.08.2011 at 17:34

I don't see any problems with the production on that one since it seems pretty similar to the debut.


It's much less suffocating and a bit too clear and dare I say it? Slick.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.08.2011 at 13:50  
Btw there is a really good tribute album to Thergothon
"Rising Of Yog - Sothoth" released by Solitude Productions and is a double cd featuring the following:
CD1:
1. Asunder - Who Rides the Astral Wings
2. Officium Triste - Crying Blood and Crimson Snow
3. Evoken - Yet the Watchers Guard
4. Imindain - Everlasting
5. Colosseum - The Unknown Kadath in the Cold Waste
6. Mournful Congregation - Elemental
7. Worship - Evoken
8. Umbra Nihil - The Twilight Fade
9. Persistence In Mourning - Dancing In The Realm Of Shades

CD2:
1. Nojda - Evoken
2. Otzepenevshiye - The Unknown Kadath in the Cold Waste
3. Krohm - Everlasting
4. Inter Arbores - Who Rides the Astral Wings
5. Astral Sleep - Yet the Watchers Guard
6. Aarni - Verivaikerrus - Hurmehanki
7. Axis Of Advance - Elemental
8. Singultus - The Twilight Fade
InnerSelf - 29.08.2011 at 04:02  
^this seems like a must have

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