|Terhen - Eyes Unfolded
20 August 2007
02. Six Months
03. Last Moments
04. What Truly Is Real
We all know what to expect in the presence of a Firedoom Music record: about one hour of well-produced, classy, quality doom metal, not really underground, not really commercial, just in the middle. Terhen is in no way different from the rest of Firedoom's catalogue, although the first promotional appearance of the band is quite odd. Formed in 2004 under the Thamuz moniker, they were contacted to create the music of a fashion show in China, which is pretty much unexpected for a funeral/atmospheric doom band from Finland.
Musically speaking, Terhen does not depart from the (usual) modern doom metal with lots of keyboards and atmospheres. The first two songs are obvious nods to Swallow The Sun's first album, with long, gloomy guitar riffs and harsh vocals accompanied by "easy" keyboard melodies and a catchy, almost commercial touch. This is not bad at all, even enjoyable for a few listens, but would altogether be quite forgettable and overdone if it wasn't for those amazingly vicious growls, that add a lot to the crepuscular feel of the album.
The third song, "Last Moments", undoubtedly the highlight of the album, introduces a new direction. The music is more focused on the atmospheres, the pace gets even slower and the guitars heavier, the songwriting is more complex, the keyboards become more funeral and atmospheric, even the vocals assume a more desperate edge, without losing their violence. This all reminds me a lot of Shape Of Despair (both periods), especially when the female vocals come in. Those vocals are not so good - too much quavering for my taste-, but they bring a more ethereal touch. Though I prefer, for instance, the bleak piano break in the middle of the monumentally epic 13-minute long "What Truly Is Real", a song that, as much for its songwriting, its wretched atmosphere and its sheer quality, would have fitted on Angels Of Distress.
For all its lack of personality and its sometimes bland and predictable songwriting, Eyes Unfolded is still a very good debut album. Without ever touching the brilliance of Swallow The Sun's debut or Shape Of Despair's whole discography, Terhen often comes close to hitting the mark. This, my friends, is a talented young band with, if they progress in a few departments, a real chance of succeeding in their niche genre. Recommended to any doom metal fan.
Highlights: Last Moments, What Truly Is Real, Wandering