And now for a dose of head-scratching weirdness. When it comes to said strangeness, we don’t get a whole lot of that anymore in metal’s realms. Things are often too serious and to the vest that some outright wackiness and lopsided terror doesn’t get as much time as it should. But if it’s weirdness you crave, there is an abundance of it for you today. In fact, this week.
Terra Tenebrosa, the mysterious, masked trio, have confounding goods for you in great numbers on their new and third full-length “The Reverses.” Over their run, nothing has been normal or by the numbers for them, and that’s what’s made the band pretty refreshing. Can they be an at-arms-length type of band? Sure. Their wares aren’t bound to be for everyone’s tastes. But their twisted, industrial-tinged black metal is unforgivingly heavy, unabashedly strange, and packed with their own brand of intensity. In fact, if you want another example of how this band follows its own calling and no one else’s, their bio is a poem. It’s all about the plight of the Cuckoo, the formation of the band, and all of the dark and horrifying things that have inspired this apocalyptic vision. It’s not easy to understand, honestly, but that only makes sense. The band had some notable helping hands on this record, by the way, with Jonas A. Holmberg (This Gift Is a Curse), Alex Stjernfeldt (The Moth Gatherer), MkM (Antaeus, Aosoth), and Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord) lending their gifts.
We just mentioned the Cuckoo, and that’s the name of our vocalist, who plays dark host and storyteller, almost as if cloaked, with a snifter of poison and a pipe for smoking. He is joined by Hibernal and Hisperdal (all three were members of post-hardcore band Breach), and together these Swedes go about telling odd, damaged tales amid their storms of numbing, nightmare-inducing music. Terra Tenebrosa got their start in 2009, issuing their first record “The Tunnels” in 2011 and following that in 2013 with “The Purging,” an album that’s on my phone as a go-to for when I’m driving and need something to keep my mind stimulated so I don’t doze off behind the wheel. Works every time.
The record opens with “Makoria,” a ghostly introductory instrumental imbedded in odd noises and warbled growling, and then it’s into “Ghost at the End of the Rope,” a title that should send chills. The song is crunchy and off-kilter, with Gollum-style creaks and growls amid the insanity, and long stretches of dissonance disorienting. The song gets scary and smothering, blasting into eeriness and going out on a haunted note. Then it bleeds toward “The End Is Mine to Ride” that opens with a blistering, yet melodic riff. Parts of this actually are damn catchy, with the vocals slithering on, and the track taking on a horror film score sense. Things later take on a psychedelic edge, with the vocals floating in the ether, and the track trailing off into the dark. “Marmorisation” has dark guitars and sounds wafting, with a burning tempo and alien-like vocals. Later the growls turn to morbid speaking, as the music gets more mind numbing, almost like you’re listening in to someone else’s nightmare as they writhe in pain.
“Where Shadows Have Teeth” is delirious right away, with crazed speaking, hypnotic terror swirling about, and disarming heaviness that just drubs you. The pace feels like a storm hanging overhead, with mechanical growls, the tempo continually twisting and grinding, and damaged strings and blunt grunts adding more bruising. “Exuvia” has a slurring melody stretching out, while scratchy speaking tells the track’s story. This song is like if the bogeyman made a record and slipped it into your room at night, forcing you to listen in the dark. The melodies loop and continually frighten, while the final moments dissolve into a cloud of noise. Closer “Fire Dances” is the longest track by far at 16:55, and it takes its time digging in its claws and drawing your blood. Once it erupts, there are pastoral-style chants, whispery growls, and strong riffs that keep building the piece and getting heavier. Noise swirls about, leaving your head spinning, and that all passes through a pit of industrial sludge. On the other side, riffs pile up, the pace grinds away, and the track ends in guttural cries and spooky organs.
As noted, Terra Tenebrosa isn’t going to do it for everyone. They’re not easy to digest, and their work on “The Reverses” could be a cause for elevated anxiety in some. But for those seeking a nightmare in which to get lost, this record could soothe what ails and help you connect with your own weirdness.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/terratenebrosaofficial
To buy the album, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/12-eshop
For more on the label, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/