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Review: Tomhet - A Dark Serenity
A Dark Serenity

Label: Nokturnal Transmissions
Year released: 2008
Duration: 36:30
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 2/5

Review online: October 27, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
A Dark Serenity

Rated 1.5/5 (30%) (4 Votes)

A bit of a fuss was made over Tomhet and this recording, his full-length debut from back in 2008, though listening to it now, I can't see why. The brainchild (ha, there's a laugh) of multi-instrumentalist (ah, and another one!) Jonathan S. Xaphan, the first thing you'll notice about A Dark Serenity is that it is home-recorded. Everything from the naff-sounding Hypersonic synths to the EZ-Drummer percussion samples screams back-bedroom production, and the cracks show early on during "Ice Fell From The Sky"; it's a decent track, no question, but the quality is low and harebrained. It just proves that anyone (and I mean anyone, folks) can give this a go and have it released. It didn't cost him anything to make, so why the fuck should we pay to get it?

Apart from that, it's also obvious that he has a certain infatuation with our good old buddy Wrest, because everything from the oppressive mood to the creepy, effect-drenched vocals reeks of every band that guy has touched, from Leviathan and Lurker Of Chalice all the way to Krieg. On the plus side, he rips him off rather well, and purifies his depressive sound to something more palatable. This isn't half as insane or darkly wonderful as The Tenth Sublevel Of Suicide, but the atmosphere comes close, on the actual songs that is. The rest of the time, Jon boy is content to play on his little midi-keyboard for long, agonizing periods of rhythmic patterns and boring ambience that sits uncomfortably next to the actual metal, of which there is little to be had.

This is quite a juvenile recording in essence, but it's a good attempt at epic and woeful despondency. Black Metal in theory should evoke something in the listener, but this fails to do that. Perhaps the Wrest worship is too blatant for me to stomach? Perhaps if I had never heard Leviathan I could have enjoyed this (some seem to think he is an understated genius – Pffft!). However, I think I'm going to avoid his later works, as should you, if you're looking for something close to excellence in your Black Metal search. Cool cover though, eh, Jon?

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