Record Review: Tethaum - Hexagram cassette

This review is an excerpt from issue #5 of Soda Killers fanzine. I might have a couple copies left. Let me know if you're interested and I'll see if I can't dig one up for you. Otherwise, you can order the most recent issues from the HDD store

Tethaum - Hexagram cassette (Sephirotic Publishing, 2009)
By Nathan G. O'Brien

Tethaum is a one-person project by Nathan Surface, the man behind Sephirotic Publishing and the creative genius behind one of my favorite zines, Erotic Dismemberment. As much as I like to consider myself being a proponent of and in-touch with "the underground" or whatever I am always taken aback when I run into something that is clearly outside my wheelhouse. In the note that accompanies this cassette, Nathan wrote that this was metal. Considering the recent rise of post-rock and shoe gaze-ish metal acts like Deafheaven, I am not one to dispute the boundaries of the genre. However I have to admit, it's unlike most metal that I’m familiar with. This is an atmospheric soundtrack comprised of what I can only assume is a guitar and some sound manipulation equipment. It resonates much in the same way most other minimalist music does. However, unlike minimalist techno, here’s nary a semblance of beat; rather an inharmonious drone that is more ethereal than it is rocking. As someone who prefers my metal to fall in line within the subgenres of thrash/speed, death, black, stoner/sludge, crust, etc.; even a little glam for old times’ sake—that is, some veneer of song structure revolving around guitar, bass, drums and vocals—I’m probably not the target market here. But as someone who is a supporter of DIY and fringe culture, and a lover of cassettes to boot, I wholly appreciate the effort and approach. I love the aesthetic aspects of these kinds if projects, and their mere existence, even if the music doesn’t necessary resonate with me.

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