Thergothon - Biography




Thergothon was formed in late 1990 by three young metal heads, namely Niko Skorpio Sirkiä (vocals, keyboard), Jori Sjöroos (drums) and Mikko Ruotsalainen (guitar). They started with average death metal but quickly found it an empty well others had explored in too great a detail to dive into. Thergothon took another route to the slowest and heaviest direction available to them at the time, doom metal, still retaining some of the harsh sound of death metal. In early 1991 they recruited a local friend Sami Kaveri as a second guitarist and recorded a demo in their rehearsal room with a 4-tracker. The results were unsatisfactory and this demo remains unheard by anyone outside the band to this day.

Thergothon kept perfecting their sound and vision, and in November 1991 they recorded four tracks which formed the demo tape Fhtagn-nagh Yog-Sothoth. The title obviously refers to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, which served as a primary influence for Niko and his lyrics at the time. Thergothon released the tape in an edition of 600 copies which were quickly spread through the underground metal scene in early 1992. The music received contradictory response. The heavy sound and the dark atmosphere were enchanting but some of the more close-minded death metal audience had hard time accepting the fact that anything could be that slow. Wild Rags Records re-released the demo as a cassette EP for the American market in 1992. There was also a license deal with a Polish label to duplicate and distribute the tape in Eastern Europe.

Thergothon performed live twice in Spring 1992 in and around their home city Turku. With only the four members on stage they didn't quite manage to recreate the special sound of many layers of guitars witnessed on Fhtagn-nagh Yog-Sothoth. A curiosity in these shows however was a creeping slow version of In League with Satan by Venom.

In Summer 1992 Thergothon concentrated on the tracks for their debut album. Sometime around then the band found themselves to be the original three-piece again; however Jori, Niko and Mikko always were the core directors and designers of Thergothon, this move only strentghened the vision. The three were dedicated to composing and studio work instead of playing live (or rehearsing for it) so there was no need for a second guitarist. In addition the roles of each member in the band became more and more blurred by exchanging instruments and trying out new ones.

The Italian cult label Obscure Plasma expressed their interested in releasing the band's debut album and the agreement upon it was made. Finally in Autumn 1992 Thergothon started recording the album, Stream from the Heavens. The result was six tracks, four new ones and two from the Fhtagn-nagh Yog-Sothoth demo in a reworked form. The band had perfected their sound by playing slow as slow as ever possible, with the downtuned guitars also replacing the bass. Non-metal influences (prog, goth, ambient, experimental...) shaped the sound further into the unknown. The result was an album many have described as "the most depressive album ever made".

The first album is also the last. After designing the cover artwork for Spring 1993 release (the album was actually released as late as 1994) and discussing possible future directions, Thergothon decided to end it there and then. The "doom metal" path was treaded several steps deeper into unmapped territories. The only viable option the band saw was to discontinue Thergothon and move on to other areas of sound to better express themselves & experiment with the ideas they had for the future.

Thergothon ceased to be in 1993 but its legacy lives on. Stream from the Heavens spread through the international underground with a few thousand copies sold. Slowly Thergothon earned a cult status in the dark metal underground. In the 90's a new metal genre "funeral doom" emerged as a dead slow and lead heavy doom & death metal influenced music; Thergothon was nominated as (one of the few) the seminal funeral doom band and an important cornerstone for the whole genre.