Bias stated right up front, I’m a big fan of tribute albums. I have over 50 tribute albums in my collection. This one is probably one of the most unique and interesting of all of them. Tributes to Maiden/Priest are plentiful and obviously many, many bands were influenced by those leaders and want to pay tribute. However, TRIBUTE TO THERGOTHON is a little more special because of the unique and influential nature of the band.
A little background is necessary. Thergothon are widely considered the fathers of the sub-genre ‘Funeral Doom’. The Rockdetector book, the A-Z of Doom, Gothic And Stoner Metal says, “Thergothon are renowned for releasing one of the most melancholic and bleak doom albums of all time.” (p. 410) Coupled with the facts that the band only recorded one album and broke up before it was released, and the fact the that their only album, STREAM FROM THE HEAVENS, was the first album on the esteemed Avantgarde Musc label, (AV001), this is one of the true gems of doom metal. This an innovative band that is truly deserving of a tribute CD, moreso than perhaps a 13th or 14th tribute to Ozzy!
This is an excellent package. The 17 track double disc clocking in at just under two hours is a heavy dose of material since the band's only album had six songs and was only 40 minutes long! The format is quite clever with two bands each covering the same song, for a total of 12 tunes from the debut and it is divided up as Volume I and Volume II. Oddly however, the songs aren’t listed on the back of the tribute. Since the band doesn’t have that many songs, it doesn’t really matter. Inside it is simple, information on the all the bands and a brief liner note from the label.
The extra material comes in the form of two versions of ‘Elemental’ and two versions of ‘The Twilight Fade’ both cuts from the 1991 demo, FHTAGN NAGH YOG SOTHOTH. The final cut is a track from a rehearsal tape, no less. So essentially you get everything the band has ever done, covered twice. A nice touch.
Listening to this tribute CD in 2010 it is easy to see how influential and innovative the band was. The bands selected for inclusion are from across the world; Russia, Finland, Germany, Canada, the US, England and Australia. The diversity in bands also helps demonstrate the influential nature of Thergothon. Probably the biggest ‘name’ bands on here (in no particular order) are Evoken, Officium Triste, Krohm and Canada’s Axis Of Advance. There are several one-man band project represented here as well, which likely reflects the insular nature of the compositions to begin with.
For the most part the bands don’t mess with the originals too much and keep the spirit of the originals. However, a few of the bands slow down and stretch out the songs even more than the originals, sometimes adding as much as 2 to 3 minutes. A few of the bands have thrown in a bit more of a cleaner vocal approach to distinguish their versions. It is a pretty bleak listening experience, which is the entire point. There are some pretty subtle points here and to truly appreciate the excellent songs, it is better to have some familiarity with the original slabs of doom. This is highly recommended as one of the better tributes out there. Listening to these bands helps the listener appreciate how far the doom genre has come since Sabbath in the 70s and Candlemass in the 80s.
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
1. NOIDA - 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