Terra Tenebrosa – The Purging
by Colum Bell
Terra Tenebrosa, are a relatively new band featuring members of legendary, but now disbanded, hardcore/post metal band Breach. Terra Tenebrosa’s previous album, The Tunnels, released in 2011 was such a surprise not only for how dynamic and layered it was, but for how it seemed to have taken parts of Breach’s unique sound and dropped them into the black pits of hell.
The first track, “The Redeeming Teratoma”, serves as an introduction to the gloomy world of the masked Cuckoo and his two accomplices, Hibernal and Hisperdal. This sets the atmosphere with delay, tremolo riffs and nightmarish tone.
“The Compression Chamber”, kicks in with a repeating creeping riff until the Cuckoo’s demonic vocals begin. The initial haunting riffs fades in and out throughout the track with almost industrial sounding drums, but this still has that sound unique to Terra Tenebrosa.
“Black Pearl in a Crystalline Shell” launches straight in with a faster pace. The jarring discordant riffs have a strange lure as if tempting us to peek into this bleak world. The Cuckoo’s tortured howls and sinister whispers lend this track an extra level of despair. The track builds in epicness with a surging ambient sound and even a solo (of sorts). The track slows and The Cuckoo’s possessed screams can be heard over a slow cavernous and dissonant riff. A definite highlight of the album.
“House of Flesh” lurches forward with further creeping discordance; this track takes the nightmarish journey further and gives the impression of the twitching, diseased undead closing in. Again, the Cuckoo’s sickened rants and twisted groans further contribute to this terror. There are moments within the track where you can still hear that unique and amazing Breach bass sound.
“The Nucleus Turbine” is more of an instrumental track with a low drone backing the sounds of machine gun fire, strange echoes and whispers that sound like a man possessed and speaking in tongues. Dark laughs and swells in the droning retain the sense of evil and dread that seeps through Terra Tenebrosa’s sound.
“The Purging” begins with the dark chants of a monk, before the creeping riff twists, snakes and lurches forward like tendrils. The chorus bursts forth like the summoned dead and all the while the Cuckoo’s chants and screams spur them like some blight across the land. As with Black Pearl in a Crystalline Shell, this has a faster pace with the main riff descending into chaos before returning in a dark and epic fashion. This is yet another highlight on an already superb and original album.
The track “Terra Tenebrosa”, has a strange organ-like swell and leads into a slow but atmospheric riff that builds to a haunting harmony. The Cuckoo’s vocals have moments of crooning and at times remind me of Maniac era Mayhem.
“At the Foot of the Tree”, begins with a dark metallic thud that echoes through the track like some blackened heart. Ambient drones fade in with the Cuckoo’s distorted and twisted words.
The dark and evil riffs of “Disintegration” slowly climb forward led with industrial sounding drums. Again, the vocals are whispering, screaming until building to a collection of demonic distorted howls. A peaceful riff emerges part of the way through like a flicker of hope in the abyss before we descend back down to the void.
“The Reave” repeats the riffs of the intro with a swell of noise like the closing of some hideous portal.
The nearest comparison for those that have not heard any Terra Tenebrosa would be Old Man Gloom meets Breach and SunnO)))’s Black One, but there’s also so much more going on here. Even the industrial sounding drums give the album an image of some crazed necromancer’s grim workshop. Terra Tenebrosa’s are extremely unique and combine the sounds of many genres of metal as well as classical, ambient sounds and avant-garde.
They will begin playing live in 2013 and I for one am both excited and intrigued to see how they pull such an amazing sound off live. This is one for the year end lists, it will certainly be on mine.
Black Pearl in a Crystalline Shell
CD can be pre-ordered from Trust No One records:
Vinyl can be pre-ordered from Apocaplexy records:
Both CD and vinyl releases are due out on the 22nd February 2013.