Hierophant - _The Tome_
(Solitude Productions, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (6.5 out of 10)
This is the re-release of a compilation, previously available only on CD-R and limited to a ridiculous 135 copies! The three EPs are _Hierophant_, _The Weight of Winter_ and _Autumn Dusk_. Hierophant is the project of one Xathagorra Mlandroth, and was later renamed as Catacombs. (Solitude Productions have also re-released Catacombs' _Enter the Catacombs_.)

_Hierophant_ consists of two songs, both of which appear in re-mastered form on _The Weight of Winter_. Normally, this would be an unnecessary duplication, but considering the rawness of the originals, which featured background tape hiss(!), perhaps re-mastering is not only justified but an absolute necessity.

Compared to Mlandroth's later re-incarnation, this is considerably slower, which may seem unbelievable to those who have heard Catacombs' agonizingly slow pacing; it is also much simpler, focusing more on evoking a minimalist droning atmosphere. Some tinkling keys, a touch of ultra guttural vocals, some droning rhythms, and that's it.

The booklet proclaims that "Doom is something to be experienced, not just listened to..." The latter claim is doubtful, but the former is true, as despite all the deficiencies, he does manage to create a masterful atmosphere of oppressive despair.

Hierophant is not as intriguing as Catacombs, but is essential in the growth of this renowned project and will be relevant to anyone interested in the early days of American funeral doom.

Contact: http:// catacombs.black-dimension.com

(article published 14/1/2008)

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