I always wanted to carry this compilation of doom metal bands paying homage to the Finnish deathdoom masters Thergothon, but never had a chance to stock it as it ended up going out of print not too long after it's release. It's not surprising that it did, based on the lineup of bands that are featured on this two-disc set: Solitude brought together some of the biggest and best names in funeral/death doom, including Asunder, Evoken, Umbra Nihil, Worship, Mournful Congregation and Officium Triste, and there's also a bunch of stranger doom metal bands that appear here that I'm a fan of such as Persistence In Mourning, Aarni, and Astral Sleep.
Asunder's version of "Who Rides The Astral Wings" opens this album with their trademark mega-heaviness, injecting the song with the Bay Area' band's own strain of lumbering, saurian crush while bringing in Jackie Perez-Gratz (Amber Asylum, Giant Squid, Grayceon) to contribute her achingly beautiful cello to the already quite miserable atmosphere, which they stretch out for more than eleven minutes. Dutch funeral doom metallers Officium Triste do a fairly straightforward, solemn rendition of "Crying Blood And Crimson Snow", and Evoken smear a load of growling distorted space-synth across "Yet The Watchers Guard" and transform it into their own monstrous, vaguely psychedelic deathdoom image; these guys are one of the few doom metal outfits that successfully use keyboards without losing an iota of their bone-crushing heaviness, and even when the synths really start to kick in towards the end of the song, this remains relentlessly crushing. There's Imindain's liturgical doom, and the epic heartache of Colosseum's gloompop-soaked version of the Lovecraftian "The Unknown Kadath In The Cold Waste". The mighty Mournful Congregation offer up a gnarled take on "Elemental", that seethes with ghastly vocal exhortations and mangy, murky riffage, and Worship's version of "Evoken" is as fucked-up and hellish as one would hope, flaying even more of the flesh from the already skeletal song structure and twisting it into even more of a putrid funeral march, so abjectly miserable and deformed that it takes on a wretchedness that is unparalleled on this album; when the violin-like sounds rise up towards the end, it sounds fuckin' amazing. Then Finnish prog-doom weirdoes Umbra Nihil turn "The Twilight Fade" into something that more resembles a warped Sabbath jam laced with some killer psychedelic guitar freak-out, and Persistence In Mourning's version of "Dancing In The Realm Of Shades" is a caveman dirge shocked with squealing electronic noise and effects, sounding more like a doomdeath version of the newer Bastard Noise stuff at times.
The strangest interpretations of Therogothon's music are found on the second disc. One of my favorites is the first track of grim space-rock laced heaviness from Nojda, who blend the sound of jaw harp, ceremonial drums and cosmic synths in with the funereal dirge, crafting something that sounds strangely like a cross between the majestic folk of later era Swans and a Hammond-organ wielding Skepticism on a major LSD trip. Otzepenevshiye's take on "The Unknown Kadath In The Cold Waste" is a trippy mix of post-industrial darkness and psychedelia, the programmed rhythms skittering across the desolate frost-covered soundscape of strings, bizarre vocal sounds, electronics and swirling distorted guitar that ends up bearing a striking resemblance to a spacier version of Korperschwache, especially when the icy, buzzing black metal guitars start to swarm in later in the song.
One-man funeral doom band Krohm offer a haunting version of "Everlasting" that uses a blackened-up version of the classic Peaceville death/doom sound, but then Inter Arbores follow with a deconstructed interpretation of "Who Rides The Astral Wings" that reduces the original music down to not much more than the basic bass line of the song for the first few minutes, weaving that bass guitar through a crumbling soundscape of low-end noise. Eventually the band comes together, lurching into a spare, skeletal dirge that's mainly carried by the drums and bass while wheezing harmonica and fragile guitar notes spin out overhead, slowly evolving into a gloomy piece of crunch-laced post-punk. Finnish doom-weirdos Aarni deliver one of the strangest re-envisioning of Thergothon with "Verivaikerrus - Hurmehanki", a mix of dreamy folky flute melodies, atonal guitar chords and bizarre drawled vocals, and Astral Sleep slow down "Yet The Watchers Guard" by at least half, using a contrabass for deep resonant cello-like rumble as their washed-out ambient deathdoom surges forward on a cloud of black fog and spacey electronic textures.
The cover of "Elemental" from Canadian death metallers Axis Of Advance (which also featured members of Revenge, Weapon, Blood Revolt, and Kerasphorous) was one of the last appearances from the band before their breakup late in the last decade; it's actually one of the more faithful cover versions on the compilation, sticking pretty close to the sound and feel of the original, though these guys do inject a bit of their signature blackened heaviness as well as Vermin's chant-like vocals into the mix. And the final track comes from bleak solo black metaller Singultus, who offers up a brief, intensely anguished version of "The Twilight Fade".
Includes a twelve-page booklet.