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A pile of cathartic garbage - 15%

Derigin, December 2nd, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

At the time of writing, nothing is really known about От Туман, other than that it is a one-man band from an unknown country whose name is Krygyz for Fire Mist. All of that you can find on the band's profile here on MA. It's also clear, from the artist's own words, that this album - an hour long by the way - was a cathartic release of emotion. I respect that; catharsis is truly the muse of so many great musicians.

But like catharsis, and perhaps typical of it, its emotional release can create a chaotic mess of sound, feeling and baggage. It's the type of action that lends itself to creating beauty or creating something truly ugly. Rarely do you get the 'in-between'. This self-titled release by От Туман is the former; it's a godawful ugly mix of music.

And, man, is the music certainly something. By no means is this the worst release I've ever heard - admittedly it's about as generic as most awful metal/ambient music tends to be - but it was a waste of an hour. The album begins and ends with relatively generic black metal, done poorly all around, with screeching out-of-tune guitars, an obvious drum machine, and vocals that come across as just downright silly. Unnecessarily sloppy, there is not one moment in any of these tracks where the guitars are remotely pleasant; either they're way out of pitch or just poorly played, or both. The same chords are played repetitively throughout. It should be no surprise that the production is, well, rehearsal, and the mixing non-existent.

This leaves the middle of the album, divided into three parts of the same name, "Cranes", which are devoid of guitars. Instead, you get a drum machine supported by what sounds like a harpsichord, both of which are programmed and artificial-sounding. There isn't really much to say about these three tracks; the same tune is played but with slight variations that get progressively worse and harder to listen to as you move forward with each track. I could certainly understand if that was intentional - there's no doubt in my mind that the arrangement of this album as a whole was intentional - but it doesn't make for good music.

Beyond this, there's isn't much more to say about it. It feels and sounds like a low-effort product in part because it appears the artist sees it as such; a release that exists solely for the artist's own personal reflection. That would be fine, had it remained private, but it was released to the public and thus open to our scrutiny. That scrutiny leads to only one conclusion; that is, that this is no more than a pile of cathartic garbage.

Overall, I would suggest avoiding this. As far as bad music goes, it's not the worst, and as far as good music goes, it's far from it. This is just one of those releases best served for the ears of the artist him or herself, and not really for the rest of us mere mortals. And so be it.