Thera
If This is the End


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
April 6th, 2010 | 85 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A surprisingly emotional release from the middle of Alaska. Expressive female vocals collide with harsh shouts and piano-laden post hardcore riffs.

We’re living in a time where it’s very easy for people to treat music like a disposable item to be consumed en masse and then tossed aside. The one positive of this is that there is more potential for smaller bands to reach a larger audience. Unfortunately what usually happens, though, is that these bands are only vaguely remembered as one of many “obtained” through another blogspot plunder. I mention this scenario because Thera is an unsigned band living in the middle of Alaska. Without the benefits of the internet this talented group of musicians would have a tough time expanding their audience. On the other hand, it would be a terrible shame for them to become just another blogspot plunder, because they have all the makings of something special.

Of course, everybody has a different set of criteria when it comes to what makes an album special. The albums that I consider the most special are the ones that elicit more than a passive listening experience – more specifically, the ones that seem to convey the emotional content in a way that I can actually feel. Thera’s main asset when it comes to accomplishing this is the vocals of Stephanie Plate. Her voice is very unique and the way that she delivers her vocals leaves them sounding raw, hurt, and vulnerable. Part of that feel might come from the fact that she doesn’t sound like she’s been training her voice to the point that all of the passion has been sucked away. Her range isn’t huge, but it simply doesn’t need to be. When she is singing tracks such as the phenomenal, “The Aftermath”, it is very easy to close your eyes and feel what she seems to be going through and that literally happens song after song. Her voice is contrasted with the occasional use of hoarse shouts that most resemble those of the post hardcore variety. At best they provide a push beyond what singing can provide and at worst they’re gone long before they can be considered a problem.

Musically, Stephanie is provided with the perfect setting to deliver those expressive vocals. If one were to explain the music with the most general of descriptions, then it would be easy to throw out alt. rock and post hardcore and be done with it. The problem is that there is more to it than just that. To begin with, the band makes effective use of delicate piano melodies that meld with the grittier guitar riffs and frequent melodic leads. The music is also prone to subtle transitions where they’ll move to a quiet section and slowly build to a soaring crescendo before returning back to the body of the song. These transitions and piano flourishes, when combined with Stephanie’s vocals, end up giving the songs an epic feel despite the compact nature of the songs. The band also takes special care to never ruin the emotional connection or epic feels that pervade each song. They exercise enough common sense to realize that they don’t need to arbitrarily increase a tempo or introduce random breakdowns. In fact, most of this album moves by at a moderate pace that only occasionally shifts towards anything that might be considered heavy, and it only does so when it’s going to compliment the song.

It’s hard to describe music like this to others because so much of what makes it good is intangible. It’s the feelings that it creates and the moods that appeal almost instantly. Much of the appeal found in this album is based on elements that will be taken differently from individual to individual based off their own personal experiences. For those that can connect to the songs, there’s probably nothing else that you’ll want to hear. Don’t get me wrong, though, the appeal of this album isn’t just limited to those that can find a personal connection. It’s also just as accommodating to those that can appreciate what the band were trying to go for – an epic sounding collection of songs that push the emotional vulnerability to the forefront, without giving in to self-indulgence or arbitrary elements.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To hear three songs through the Sputnik blog go here:

http://sputnikmusic.com/blog/?p=796


This was a pretty quick write up because there was just too much that I wanted to squeeze in and it kept turning into a convoluted mess.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

SeaAnemone
April 6th 2010


20374 Comments


gotta hear this it seems. nice convoluted mess, err I mean review ; )

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

Ponton
Emeritus
April 6th 2010


5793 Comments


review was good and gave a good picture of the album. Any full stream for this in the future, Willie?

Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, they gave me permission to post these three songs but I never asked about a full stream. I could ask.

Ponton
Emeritus
April 6th 2010


5793 Comments


no need, I should probably fork over the money if i want to hear the whole thing. For now, ill play through the songs for a bit.

Mordecai.
April 6th 2010


8279 Comments


Sounds like I would like this. Definitely checking it out sometime this week. Great review.

Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's only $9.99 at the digital site I linked to and the cool thing about that place is apparently the band gets 100% of the money.

Cool, looking forward to reading what you think.

Mordecai.
April 6th 2010


8279 Comments


I wish my avatar was as big as yours =(

Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I compensating...

Ponton
Emeritus
April 6th 2010


5793 Comments


I will buy this, though I have to wait to the weekend for the cash haha. should expect a rating from me within a weeks time

Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool. I'm sure the band will appreciate it. The dude I "spoke" to yesterday seemed cool enough.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review Trey... & you definitely have me intrigued.

Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, guess what! I also wrote a blog with three streaming songs... in fact I won't even point you to the link... here it is!

http://sputnikmusic.com/blog/?p=796


DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know. Already seen it... Just can't listen to it atm.

BallsToTheWall
April 6th 2010


44477 Comments


Cool review man. My computer should be fixed tomorrow, so I will acquire then if possible. In the meantime will myspace on my moms labtop.

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Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There's three songs streaming on a blog I posted here on Sputnik too.

BallsToTheWall
April 6th 2010


44477 Comments


Good Morning Sunset is decent but the vocals sound extremely awkward and/or grating/terrible in parts.


In conclusion, I fucking hate the vocalist with a passion. Will avoid.

Willie
Moderator
April 6th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To me, it's that exact thing... the kind of raw nature of some of the vocals that makes it more endearing.

Did you hear the new Eyes Set to Kill single yet?

BallsToTheWall
April 6th 2010


44477 Comments


This lady's vocals make me want to never listen to music ever again.


New ESTK song is decent, I disliked their last album but this is moderately better.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2010


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

4.5 trey dear god

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