Friday, February 14, 2014

Туман


Туман - The Past is Alive
No Colours Records, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Vándorok
2. Örület
3. Emlékezés
4. Halott Csillagok
5. Határvonal
6. Köd
7. A Múlt El









When I saw that Туман were slotted to put out a new album after nearly eight years of silence, I was instantly excited to get my hands on this. I pre-ordered this immediately and it has finally arrived! After the raw and intense "Loquitur cum Algo Sathanas" Туман take a more thoughtful approach to "The Past is Alive". I'm sure the album title is in reference to the lyrics in Mayhem's song "Pagan Fears", so I'm a little surprised by how this album actually sounds. I thought it would sound like total Mayhem worship, but we actually got something a little more than that. The booklet is merely okay, there isn't a lot of art in it. However, it is multi-paged and features the Hungarian lyrics with English translations.

"The Past is Alive" really lacks the intensity of the prior releases, so if you were expecting that kind of Black Metal expression from Туман, you may find this album a little disappointing. However, I'm going to look at this as seriously mature growth of the bands writing and look at how impressive this album actually is overall. Туман have truly favored a much more atmospheric approach to writing this time around. It seems that Atmospheric Black Metal craze is really influencing a lot of new writing. "The Past is Alive" is not an outright atmospheric album, it really is a Black Metal album, but it has a certain density in the production that just let's the listener immerse themselves. "The Past is Alive" paints an incredibly haunting soundscape for the listener to simply drown in. The overly simplistic "Emlékezés" is made mesmerizing by listening to Dim hauntingly recite vocals in her native language. Maybe it's because my native language is English, but listening to Hungarian cast in this fashion conjures this really immense intensity to the song. The fact that they can do this while barely playing says a lot about their ability to control the atmosphere they're building. It's an album that you really experience as a whole, rather than on an individual track basis. I feel their prior albums worked more individually, but "The Past is Alive" builds a cohesive work. Tracks like "Örület" manage to stand out and give hints of Arckanum influence, but amidst some of the slower tracks the album comes off as quite a journey. The track listing is definitely very well arranged for this experience.

In the end I really did love this album. It's still very early in the year to say how this will match up against the rest of the releases. However, while this is nothing what I expected from Туман, I really did appreciate this album a lot. It is actually a very beautiful album. I'm not sure how many Туман fans will embrace this, sort of, new sound, because it is very different from all their other material. I do recommend trying this album out, just don't expect it to be like their prior catalog.


Туман - Loquitur cum Algo Sathanas
No Colours Records, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Megöltem Istent
2. Sátán Útján
3. Temetõ
4. Oltár
5. Styx
6. Kulcs
7. Sátán








Dim and her horde have returned after a couple years to present us with a fine new effort labeled as True Carpathian Black Metal! I think is sort of a logical progression from the days of "Transylvanian Dreams". The art and album layouts are more elaborate and the music has a degree of maturity that is usual inevitable after years playing Black Metal. Туман are merely following that usual musical trend, some may say for the better and some may not like it as much.

It cannot be denied that "Loquitur cum Algo Sathanas" is a much more polished album when compared to the earlier efforts. I've seen some reviews that lament the loss of "Transylvanian Dreams" and in some ways I do agree. That harsh cold atmosphere that just shined through that album is not present here. The raw essence and chill from the production is gone. In some ways you need to get over that change and embrace the new effort. This is sort of like asking Mayhem to recapture the essence of "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas", when a lot of that presence had to do with production quality as well. Туман find themselves in a similar predicament. Very few bands can maintain a harsh recording quality over the years consistently, especially if they are forced to use different studios. What makes matters worse is that studios will also upgrade their equipment, making it impossible to capture the same sound and essence as before. That may be the situation Туман find themselves in, because both albums are recorded at Track Copy Studio. This isn't like Endstille who recorded in JAK Hell for years and really pulled off the same sound album after album, probably because JAK Hell never upgraded anything, which is unusual for a recording studio.

That being said Туман have truly released a fine album here. They really addressed some of the problems I heard with their earlier works. The guitar line is finely layered and Dim is experimenting with writing two guitar lines. She's actually very good at writing in this fashion and it's really given her a lot of freedom within the realms of writing material. You can hear it through the added complexity and arrangement of her riffs. The riffs on this album actually come across as a little more well written than before. Maybe you can argue they are not as chilling and instead a bit catchier, but that is okay. This is a very different album overall. In the last album I mentioned Gelal's drumming was fairly monotonous, but with this album he adds in a decent amount of fills to keep the music a lot more interesting. This really helps with the more varied arrangements. Unfortunately, Shadow is lost to the background, which seems most typical of bands when they start layering the guitars. However, Shadow is certainly a necessary component because removal of the bass guitar just makes music sound thin. Without him the presence wouldn't be nearly as full and complete as we get on this album.

In the end I actually really enjoyed this album. I actually like the direction Туман are heading in. I think their writing is getting stronger and I really look forward to what they put out in the future. Definitely a wonderful and vicious album.


Туман & Necroplasma Split
Turanian Honour Productions, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

Туман:
1. Storm
Necroplasma:
2. Shallow Voices












Side Necroplasma: ...coming eventually...
Side Туман:

So here's a curious thing to do. When you release your debut album, do a split with a band and release one of those songs from the album. Granted this is a slightly different version. Horna also did this kind of thing with their Tenebrae in Perpetuum split and I've always found this a weird thing for a band to do. Now, I'm not sure which release came out first, usually they don't print the month of release on these types of products. This vinyl 7" is limited to 444 copies and I have #416.

This is really the same song as "Vihar", but I believe this might be a version in English rather than Hungarian. It also seems to be a rehearsal track, because it's much more raw than the studio recordings. In light of this, I'm not sure if the Туман side really makes this worth getting. "Vihar" and "Storm" aren't so drastically different that it makes either one more a must have than the other.

Туман - Transylvanian Dreams
No Colours Records, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Átoklátomás
2. Erdély
3. Vihar
4. Transylvanian Dreams
5. Holdlény
6. Öregmocsár










"Transylvanian Dreams" seems to be quite a favorite among Туман fans and I can certainly understand why. "Transylvnian Dreams" is a harsh and ice cold glorious debut. The sound is heavily rooted in the Scandinavian vein and it really does herald back to a bygone age of Black Metal from the early days.

After listening to the "Funeral Fog" demo, I was expecting more from the band this time around and they certainly delivered! A lot of bands try to emulate the music they love from the early 90's, but the majority just can't even remotely compete. Туман, however, absolutely does. With "Funeral Fog" they've started adding the Mayhem aesthetic their music, but with this one some of the grindier moments of Gorgoroth show up here, as can be heard with "Átoklátomás". I think Туман have managed to find a good balance between minimalism and complexity that works for them. Songs like "Vihar" are tremelo picked the whole way through, but it's a fierce attack on chord structure and there isn't as many "lead" styled sections that show through. I feel like this is the way Inferno approached a lot of their songwriting, until they started to layer the guitars a lot more. Туман is similar, where they will attack the listener with fiercely picked chords, but they will also include some nice scale patterns in sections. The riff three minutes into "Transylvanian Dreams" is simply intoxicating. In some ways I thought the bass would take a more active role without a second guitar, but I Shadow is still driving with Gelal's drum beats. Gelal doesn't vary up the drum material very much, but when he does it's really great. I hope to hear more of that in future releases. The constancy of the drum pattern gives this a feel of albums like Setherial's "Hell Eternal". Despite this, I surprisingly never got bored with Туман and I feel the guitar work makes up for any monotony that could result.

In the end, I managed to find Туман's debut full-length quite enjoyable. I think a lot of listeners out there might complain that "it's nothing original". I think this type of listener is mostly boring, always wanting originality is a waste of time if you want to explore a genre. Find bands that play things well and you'll find a lot more music to listen to. Туман wields their craft very well and I think they are certainly worth checking out. I look forward to what they might do next, they are certainly trending in a better direction.


Туман - Funeral Fog
Self-Released, 2004
Re-released:
No Colours Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. Funeral Fog (Mayhem Cover)
2. Transylvania
3. Dark Forest of the Evil
4. Died in the Past
5. Transylvanian Dreams
6. Freezing Moon (Mayhem Cover)
7. A Gonosz Sötét Erdeje







After a year Туман finally put together their second demo and things changed drastically. Gone is that very dry sound of the prior album and they've heralded in a much more raw approach, which really enhances the music very well. This was originally self-released on CDr, limited to 100 copies. However, I have the re-edition from No Colours, which is hand-numbered and limited to 666 copies. I own copy #546.

Everything about this demo is better than "Beginning of the End" and I wonder if they've gone through a serious line-up change. I realize that Dim is the same as Tuman from the demo, because she used that name on another release. Given this demo is titled "Funeral Fog" it would be remiss if the band opened with something other than Mayhem's "Funeral Fog". Туман strikes hard with this cover and does a superb job. The raw recording style of this demo really lends to the atmosphere of the song and I love hearing Dim's vocal performance over this. Her vocals are a lot more close to Dead's than to Atilla's, so it adds a really sharp edge to the song. The album actually closes with a Mayhem cover and married between these two is really their second demo. Naturally, Туман's song writing hasn't improved so much that it rivals the mighty Mayhem, but it is certainly a lot stronger than "Beginning of the End". The riffs are much more fierce and have an icy edge to them that was never present before. I think we hear Туман growing out of a sort of Darkthrone worship and adding a certain level of Mayhem's complexity into the mix. There are times when you could argue the riffs get a little boring, and that's true, but there are these sections that just cut through and sound very sinister. I think Туман is really growing in the right direction and I'm not surprised that this landed them a contract with No Colours. I still want to hear Dim and her crew grow even more with their writing.

Despite the production behind the guitars, the change in the drum production is the other massive change that stands out the most. I honestly can't tell if "Beginning of the End" used a drum machine or electronic drums or something like that, they sounded so dry. While Gelal is certainly no Hellhammer, he's added a lot to Туман sound by giving us a far more organic drum tone than the prior demo. This really changes the atmosphere for the band and gives it a more real presence.

This version of the album closes off with the bonus track "A Gonosz Sötét Erdeje", which was clearly recorded at a much later date. The production quality is a lot better and even far more cold. The writing is also a lot more thought out, so this is sort of a taste of things to come for me as I go through this bands discography for the first time. If this is honestly what they threw away for "Transylvanian Dreams" then it must be one monster of an album!

If you're a big fan of Туман like I am, then I highly recommended checking out this second demo. This was the turning point for the band in my opinion. The Mayhem covers alone probably make this worthwhile. I really can't wait to hear what they have in store for us next. I usually don't link covers for a sample... but they did a really stellar job with "Funeral Fog" and is certainly worth hearing.


Туман - Beginning of the End
Self-Released, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. I'll Kill You
2. Follow
3. Dапь
4. The Lust of Destruction
5. Bloody Moon











Туман is a band from Hungary and their name means "fog". I originally heard this band from some of their later material, which I thought was quite good. Delving into a bands history can really be hit or miss a lot of the time. "Beginning of the End" is extreme primitive and really has an amateur quality to it. I feel like this is one of those situations with young musicians just starting out... well musicians starting out at any age really. This is their first demo and it was only pressed on CDr.

The opening track is titled "I'll Kill You", which is a sign to me that the band won't have much to say lyrically. However, sometimes the music can be very strong. I will say I thought it was just okay. This is a very mediocre release. The recording quality actually is pretty good for a demo, but the songwriting is extremely basic. It leans heavily on a more primitive Darkthrone style. Maybe drawing some help from the late 90's German scene. I'm specifically looking at bands released on Last Episode. I will say, I those bands were mostly boring, but I didn't mind them much. I feel about the same with "Beginning of the End".  Туман aren't doing anything particularly interesting for me. The riffs plod along and the vocalist screams away, but the material really isn't really evoking that tangible atmosphere I expect in varying degrees of Black Metal. I thought "Dапь" was a decent song. It seems to have around one riff, but it has a good quality about it the other songs don't. "Bloody Moon" is a slow plodding song that I think tries to be thoughtful, but is fairly forgettable instead.

"Beginning of the End" doesn't start Туман on a very high note. I mean, I've certainly heard much worse, but that solidly lands them in the neutral realm. I think this is a case where it takes a band a lot of work to really get going with a sound that works for them. I know Туман don't stick with this approach, so we'll see how long it takes for them to get into their modern sound.


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