Thergothon were a death/doom trio formed in 1990 in the quiet, small town of Kaarina, Finland, located just outside of Turku.
What had originally started out as three young teenagers playing run-of-the-mill death metal, a project that the trio found to be very unfulfilling, eventually took a turn to a new form of doom, a new form of death metal entirely. Death metal was something that had began to run rampant in Finland a couple of years prior and there had already been many bands at the time playing the same form of music, all attempting to sound as "brutal" as possible. The Thergothon boys began to find themselves longing to play something different from the average death metal crowd, and began to experiment with their sound; downtuning their guitars as low as they could go, distorting them as much as they could, and playing as slow as possible, to the tempo of a funeral march. The sound that would come from this band resulted in the coldest, most disharmonic sounding death metal that no one had ever heard before, a new subgenre was formed in their wake along with their counterparts, Skepticism, and it was later coined with the term, "funeral doom".
(The frozen sunset over Kaarina)
Fhtagn-nagh Yog-Sothoth (Demo 1991)
Come late 1991, after a failed recording of what was originally supposed to be their first demo, titled "Abysmal Dimensions", Thergothon returned to the studio again in November after writing four new tracks with a second guitarist. Alas, their first official demo, titled "Fhtagn-nagh Yog-Sothoth" was recorded at Tuotanto-Tekniikka studio, which was a small studio that was run by their second guitarist. This was their raw introduction to the underground of their slow, distorted, and agonizing form of death/doom. The title "Fhtagn-nagh Yog Sothoth" and their lyrics were heavily inspired by Lovecraftian lore, and the music's eerie, depressing atmosphere overpowered all. The band independently released this demo on cassette with a white layout and spread it throughout the underground.
With the growing rate and success of death metal in the early 90's, Thergothon received mixed reviews from the more close-minded death metal fans who were only interested in fast, brutalizing death metal that you could headbang to, rather than slow, intense death/doom that made you want to slit your own throat. Despite these critics, in 1992, the infamous American label with mixed reviews, Wild Rags, picked up on the demo and released it on cassette in the US with a black layout.
3. Yet the Watchers Guard
4. The Twilight Fade
Stream From the Heavens (1994)
Following the release of their first demo, Thergothon found themselves as a three-piece again. Some speculation floats out there that the members felt they didn't need an extra guitarist in the band, especially after playing a couple of live shows in Turku, Finland. They felt that even having that extra member there didn't do their music justice when playing live and the sound wasn't as full or as "mystical" as it had sounded on the album. It was after this realization that Thergothon decided to just focus solely on writing music, rather than performing live shows again. They began to write the music for what would be their debut album in the summer of 1992. The debut album would include four new songs, and two re-worked ones from their demo prior, these songs being "Elemental" and "Yet the Watchers Guard". Despite undergoing many lineup changes, the band kept up with their slow, heavy, and bleak sound that was previously heard on their demo. This was all due to writing new songs under both old and newfound melancholic influences such as Paradise Lost, Tiamat, various gothic bands, and the woodsy surroundings of Finland. The recording was finished, and the pact was sealed...
Nothing can last forever however, as the Thergothon trio found themselves getting bored of the underground scene quickly in the process of recording the album. They grew tiresome of seeing the countless extreme metal bands that were all trying to out-do one another, and the vast amount of bands that were copying each other. They began to long for something different and found that playing this form of music no longer satisfied them. Moving forward was the only solution. Thergothon split up not long after recording the debut album and it didn't see the light of day until 1994, when Italian label, Avantgarde Music, would form a deal with the band to release the album on CD.
"Stream From the Heavens" would be what was later on considered to be one of the "most depressive albums in metal history", completing the aesthetic with eye-catching cover art of ruins behind a multi-colored sunset. No one can deny the impact that this album had and that Thergothon has had on death/doom and death metal in general. This is an album that caught my attention immediately when I started delving into Nordic death metal, and one that influenced my taste in music greatly, that's for sure.
They were pioneers of a subgenre, and influencers of many who were striving to play a similar form of gloomy-but-heavy music.
Yet the Watchers Guard
The Unknown Kadath in the Cold Waste
Who Rides the Astral Wings
Crying Blood + Crimson Snow