Thoth – From the Abyss of Dungeons of Darkness

Featuring members also found in bands such as Ohtar, Selbstmord, Thor’s Hammer, Dark Fury, and Graveland’s own Rob Darken on synths, Thoth is a Polish super group of sorts looking to rekindle the church fires of the mid 90’s with mystical sounding and eerie black metal. “From the Abyss of Dungeons of Darkness” is a slow to mid paced mood sculpter where clean guitar lines weep sorrowful melodies and act as the main foundation of the songs, for tremolo note based riffs to buzz off in the background over the slow drum beat. The layering effect paints a very complex canvas which is made even denser by the atmospheric and subtle synth textures by Darken’s keen ear for not overdoing it on the keys. The songs are so dense in execution, yet such a clear and surprisingly thin production makes this recording sound a bit alien to the senses. It almost had to be this way or all the layers swirling about could have gotten lost in a more midrange to bottom end production. Speed does enter into the picture on occasion as the buried blast beat patterns (I’m guessing this is a machine) on “…to kill…” apply a needed sense of tension, but the majority of this album is slow to mid paced allowing each song to dig in with a long forgotten and obscure aura that can only be described as “chilling Polish occult”. For me, the hardest hurdle to get over on “From the Abyss of Dungeons of Darkness” is the vocals. I can appreciate the “crying Orc”, Varg Vikernes throaty screaming style used as a dynamic, but this delivery is the main vocal performance on the album. Most of the time it works just fine and is mixed off in the background acting as cries from another dimension, but when this delivery is right up front, it actually sucks some of the impact out of the music in a feeble way. There are times were a more forceful or intense screaming style would have accentuated the music more effectively, but once the CD reaches the halfway point, I have grown accustomed to the delivery and can get back into the interesting folds pouring out of this epic release of unashamed Burzum worship. “From the Abyss of Dungeons of Darkness” is perhaps much more symphonic than any of the Burzum material, but without the Count’s musical contribution to the black metal scene, “bands” like Thoth would definitely not have existed. If you have the patience for slower moving and a more epic strain of underground black metal, Thoth will appeal to fans that just cannot move past the mid 90’s era of the genre. -Marty

Elegy Records

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~ by martyworm on January 4, 2010.

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