Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama – Album Review

Artist: Et Moriemur

Album Title: Tamashii No Yama

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Date of Release: 8 April 2022

For the first time in 2022, I have hit upon that most intriguing and frustrating of conundrums: how do I review an album that I know isn’t that good, or isn’t as good as it clearly could have been but that I like in spite of my numerous misgivings? Every so often I’m presented with just such an album, and I do what I always do, namely procrastinate. That’s why I’ve had access to this promo for literally ages, but am only now able to commit to putting my thoughts into words on my website.

Et Moriemur are a Czech metal band that are loosely described as ‘atmospheric doom/black metal’, with ‘Tamashii No Yama’ the title of this, their fourth full length album. And, from the outset, I found myself intrigued by the record. For starters, I am a sucker for traditional Japanese music, and it’s a country that I’d like to visit one day, as I’m fascinated by the history and traditions. So, with artwork clearly inspired by the land of the rising sun, as well as all seven tracks bearing Japanese-inspired titles, I was keen to hear what Et Moriemur had created here. My eagerness only ramped up further when it because clear that ‘Tamashii No Yama’ features a cast of guests who add to the potential variety of the material with violins, harps, cellos, and the Shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese instrument similar to a flute but made of bamboo.

On the one hand, for various reasons, ‘Tamashii No Yama’ is a real let-down for me. For a start, the production is not great, with the sound very uneven, and a lack of separation that leads to a muddy mess in places, especially when the music is at its heaviest. The poor sound robs the material of its real power, a power that this music could so easily have had with a stronger production. Karel ‘Kabrio’ Kovářík’s bass is missing in action for much of the record, whilst the guitars of Aleš Vilingr and Honza Tlačil carry less threat or muscle than they really should.

What I also find disappointing, is the lack of genuine commitment when it comes to the Japanese themes. Yes, the Shakahuchi makes an appearance at times throughout the forty-minute record, but these appearances could have been vastly increased. Regardless though, at its heart, ‘Tamashii No Yama’ simply doesn’t sound that Japanese. Instead, this is most definitely a European death/doom metal record, of that there is no doubt. It’s more reminiscent in many ways to the likes of Negura Bunget and other Eastern European artists than anything else.

I should hate this record then, and award it a measly score as a result. I should. But I can’t. And that’s because, for all its shortcomings, I enjoy listening to large amounts of the record, I really do.

Take the opening composition, ‘Hameda’ as the first example. This is about as far removed from doom metal, death metal, or any other kind of metal for that matter. It is ostensibly a piano-led instrumental courtesy of Zdeněk Nevělík that could have been plucked from a film score, such is its beauty. The precise plucked melodies of an acoustic guitar only add to the beauty of this fragile track, that’s eventually joined by cello, viola and violin and the Shakahuchi to add that touch of Japanese to it. Forget everything else for a second, this is a stunning piece of music that genuinely moves me.

The opener then segues into ‘Sagami’ which continues with the melodies of its predecessor but unleashes the full force of the more metallic instrumentation. It could be even more powerful, but again, just revel in the gorgeous, simple, and effective melodies. Over the top, we get Nevělík’s raspy growls that are breathy, and tortured, suiting the music pretty well in my opinion.

From there, ‘Oshima’ pretty much abandons any pretence of Japanese musical influence, preferring to lurch along at a slow, lumbering pace that’s the first time we get to hear something approximating doom metal. The growls are deeper, the guitars heavier and meatier, and there’s a death metal flavour to the track. The drums of Michal ‘Datel’ Rak are a little too thin and far back in the mix too, so they don’t quite thump with the authority that they should. However, as the layers are built, and the melodies are increased, it’s hard not to smile in spite of myself. I can’t help it, but I like it.

‘Nagoya’ features a bold intro, full of different sounds and then darts off into a more Gothic baroque direction complete with harpsichord-like sounds and all-encompassing layers of choir vocals. The slightly off-key piano notes give the song a strange yet compelling avant-garde feel, before rich melody is inserted into the final third of the track to nice effect.

‘Otsuki’, the penultimate track, starts off with some of the most aggressive and confrontational material on the entire album, albeit it remains held in check and lacking in genuine oomph due to the production. Nevertheless, for the first three minutes, the tone is foreboding, dark, and sinister, with faster drumming, and harsher riffing. There’s a deliberately discordant lead solo break that’s pure death metal and that signals a dramatic shift in the song. Out goes the extreme metal, and in comes the most beguiling melody again led by the piano but with multi-layers of instrumentation within it, including a sedate drumbeat. Again, I can’t help it, but this melodic section really speaks to me, and I love it.

The cynical amongst us, and I’d be one of those normally, might declare that the final track, ‘Takamagahara’ is the result of Et Moriemur realising that they’d not created enough music by this point. It stretches over thirteen minutes and yes, it could do with some trimming. However, I can’t help but fall for its charms, for it has many. The way the song builds from humble beginnings, all the while delivering a simple, but super melody, is thoroughly enjoyable as far as I’m concerned. The multitude of instrumentation used throughout cannot be understated, and whilst Nevělík’s rasp gets a little much at times, he offers plenty of other sounds, from a hushed spoken-word delivery, to deep, bestial grunts. All the while, the threat of more melody is never far away, and so it proves to my delight. I know that there are flaws in this music, but flaws be damned, I really like large swathes of this monster composition that’s part doom metal, part Gothic atmosphere, part death/black metal, part Sigh-like avant-garde, part minimalist atmospherics, and a smattering of Japanese influence.

It’s the melodic nature of the music that overcomes everything else for me and saves an album that should be ordinarily disregarded. The melodies speak to me, they resonate with me, they move me, and they work their magic. I have succumbed to the power of the melody, to the point where I find myself overlooking the poor production, the lack of overt Japanese influence that I’d hoped to hear, and the occasional clunky nature of some of the transitions within the songs. I keep coming back to several of the tracks on ‘Tamashii No Yama’, continually being left in wonderment by the melodies contained therein. They may not be overly complex, but they are memorable and surprisingly profound. I can’t explain it, but I dislike and love Et Moriemur’s ‘Tamashii No Yama’ in equal measure.

The Score of Much Metal: 89%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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