When I first received Lacrimae Mundi, my first thought was that it had a damn smashing cover. It depicted a Therian birdman kneeling before a bonfire in the perfect image of a dreamlike shamanic ceremony; it was otherworldly yet connected to our strange standing in the universe. Those inquisitive and observant followers of the Harvest might recall me giving Lacrimae Mundi a spot in my end-of-year best-of list, and I must confess that it is a shame that I have not been able to take the time to write this review until now.
TeHÔM is a project with a story so rich that it would take an entire article in itself to explore. Founded nearly three decades ago in 1988 by Sinisa Ocurscak and Miljenko Rajakovic, TeHÔM exists as a means for the duo to delve deeper into the philosophy of religion through music. In 1997, Ocurscak passed away just three years before the release of Theriomorphic Spirits, and since then the project has been hidden away in a cold storage; that is, until now.
Lacrimae Mundi is a transcendent album, it traverses the great abyss and its combination of deep brooding synthesizers, ritualistic drums, and spoken word summons a deeper meaning to the otherwise tenebrous wellspring of sound. This album truly borders on the mystical, and in the otherworldly atmosphere of this album is a seed of brilliance that just stuck right to me from the very beginning. Miljenko has gone above and beyond in his quest to bring something beyond music to the listeners—a journey through the shadows to the edge of our reality, where dreams are born and flutter away into the void-born darkness.
In many ways, TeHÔM is reminiscent of Desiderii Marginis as well as Inade in style and composition, yet the project manages to transcend beyond both on its way to its own spiritual journey—something that I unfortunately find lacking in both of the previously mentioned projects. Songs such as ‘Perilous Depth’ and ‘Amorphous Structure’ are wondrously built up with ritual drumming rhythms that have been combined with a perfect mixture of ambient swells and droning backgrounds. ‘The World Ended’ and ‘Atum’ venture further down into the abyss with their subterranean atmospheres and deep resonances, which echo unyieldingly through one’s mind. Lacrimae Mundi is beautiful; the production is brilliant; the final mix of this album is nigh flawless in its balance between heavily distorted atmospheres and pounding shamanic rhythms. In a move that makes Lacrimae Mundi somewhat more accessible, classic literary subjects from Poe‘s ‘The Raven’ to Crowley‘s The Book of the Law are covered through spoken word and ritualistic throat singing. The feel of the album overall is very suiting, in a way, since it is indeed a manifestation of something deeper—something beyond.
When it comes to albums that have stuck to me, both body and soul, Lacrimae Mundi really was the biggest surprise of 2014. It came to me by accident, more or less, yet in some ways it feels like a stunning twist of fate that ‘the crow’ (as I’m affectionately referred to) got to review the album crowned by some sort of a shaman birdman. Lacrimae Mundi is an album that I warmly recommend to genuine lovers of brooding ritual ambient, as well as to seekers of the unknown. It is a potent album and a brilliant instrument for a modern-age shaman to dive into the unknown depths of dreams with. TeHÔM’s resurrection was the beginning of something new, and I hope that its dream will never die.
01) Perilous Depth
02) Darkness Cosmogony of Myths
04) Amorphous Structure
05) The World Ended
06) Lacrimae Mundi
07) The Magnitude of Shaking
09) Modality of Cosmic Matter