I have always wanted to go to Japan, and I’ll preface this by saying not only have I never been there, but I’m not a fan of long journeys, so there’s a great chance it’s a trip I’ll never make. Most of the allure comes from that land’s rich pro wrestling history, of which I’d indulge generously, but it also feels like a fantasy land that doesn’t seem like it can be real. It holds so much intrigue for me.
Czech atmospheric doom/death dreamers Et Moriemur certainly had richer inspiration when crafting their new record “Tamashii No Yama” (translates to “mountain of soul”), an album based on the Empire of Japan. To see the ambitious vision through for this seven-track, 40-minute experience, the band—vocalist/pianist Zdeněk Nevělík, guitarists Aleš Vilingr and Honza Tlačil, bassist Karel “Kabrio” Kovářík, drummer Michal “Datel” Rak—employed a host of guest musicians to realize this vision. These players add elements such as drums, acoustic guitars, violin, cello, viola, harp, shakuhachi, and choir parts to flesh out these songs that capture your imagination immediately. Yes, doom and death are basic elements here, but there is so much creative imagination and ambition one might not expect from a heavy record that it makes for an even more powerful force. Something mostly indescribable.
“Haneda” starts with a strange TV transmission before pianos drip, strings reach, and we’re unexpectedly being soothed with sounds one would not expect to open a heavy metal record. Which is super refreshing, and the track goes on with cello scrapes and a strange aura forming and melting into “Sagami” where the drums disrupt your dream. Guitars glaze and wild howls decimate, the keys tracing every step. Hypnotic melodies thicken as the vocals wrench your heart and bound into “Oshima” that brings thick doom blood and layered strings. The guitars chug as an ugly fury oozes through cracks in the walls, shrieks mix with a foggy horizon, and the playing has a chambery edge. Then the crevices yawn, unhinged howls send jolts down your spine, and the guitars churn, leaving only ash behind.
“Izu” sludges as noises hang in the air, and then the growls gurgle and combine with strange keys, a choral part making your brain flutter. Anguished cries intensify as the sounds swell, keys trickle, and the dust eventually settles. “Nagoya” brings chilling shakuhachi that ushers in pulverizing doom and harps plucking at serenity. Group vocals swell as muddy energy meets up with jagged guitars, the power settles, and piano drains into the sea. “Otsuki” digs right into your chest with a death assault that knowns no mercy and vocals that dig into your psychosis. Guitars light up as the playing navigates through the mud, and then a dizzying tear leads to a calming sequence with piano, moody strings, and an overnight flight into closer “Takamagahara.” Piano, speak singing, and gothy doom color the first bit of this 13:51-long epic. Shrieks and growls mix as the buzz gets heavier as the tempo wrestles back and forth, melody glistens, and a dreaminess melts into a funeral doom-style dirge. Elegance blackens as voices call out, shrieks squeeze, and the playing burns, dissolving into anguish and atmosphere, bleeding into time.
Et Moriemur continue to push the body of their sound and their influences with “Tamashii No Yama,” a challenging and daring record that requires repeat visits in order to achieve full absorption. There’s so much going on here, and their collection of guest musicians do a fantastic job fleshing out these songs and adding texture from the source material into this music. This is a mesmerizing, exciting display, and it again proves that metal has no real boundaries if you’re willing to take chances.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/etmoriemur
To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/
Or here (Europe): https://transcendingobscurity.8merch.com/
Or here (India): https://tometal.com/store/
For more on the label, go here: https://tometal.com/